This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores questions about the significance in trials of amateur and professional, lay and ecclesiastical judges and of the role of other professional lawyers and lay people in the proceedings. It discusses the principles, which governed both the common law of England and the Roman and canon law of the Church and of some of the states of continental Europe. The book also explores the concept of trial, and particularly the modern notion of a fair trial, in order to analyse the assumptions, which many readers will make about the nature of legal process. It considers criminal trials and civil litigation conducted in royal, manorial and Church courts in late medieval and early modern England.
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