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Dealing with trials, civil and criminal, ecclesiastical and secular, in England and Europe between the 13th and 17th centuries, this text provides a rounded view of trials conducted according to different procedures within contrasting legal systems, including English common law and Roman canon law.
It considers the judges and juries and the amateur and professional advisers involved in legal processes as well as the offenders brought before the courts, with the reasons for prosecuting them and the defences they put forward. The cases examined range from a 14th century cause-celebre, the attempted trial of Pope Boniface VIII for heresy, to investigations of obscure people for sexual and religious offences in the city states of Geneva and Venice.
Technical terms have been cut to a minimum to ensure accessibility and appeal to lawyers, social, political and legal historians, undergraduates and postgraduates, and general readers interested in the development of the trial through time.