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""Inquisition"" was the new form of criminal procedure that was developed by the lawyer - Pope Innocent III and given definitive form at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.
It has since developed a notoriety which has obscured the reality of the procedure. In contrast to the old Roman system of relying on volunteer accuser-prosecutor, who would be punished in case of acquittal, the inquisitorial judge himself served as investigator, accuser, prosecutor and final judge.
A probable-cause requirement and other safeguards were put in place to protect the rights of the defendant, but as time went on some of these defences were modified, abused or ignored, but in all cases appeal and redress were at least theoretically possible.
Unlike continental practice, in England inquisitorial procedure was mainly limited to local church courts, while on the secular side native procedures developed, most notably the jury. Private accusers, however, were still to be seen, illustrated here in the studies on ""appeals"" of sexual rape.