Abstract and Keywords
In the last quarter of the twelfth century a new type of royal court was created in England with courts possessing nationwide jurisdiction, whose justices required specific authorization to hear individual cases and who began regularly to use jury verdicts for fact-finding. From the first the justices of these new courts kept written records and from the last quarter of the thirteenth century these are supplemented by unofficial law reports made by those listening to what was done in court. Initially these courts were concerned mainly with serious crime and property rights over land but they also came to exercise jurisdiction over disputes about the mutual obligations of lords and tenants and helped to control various forms of coercion and self-help. These new courts created the English common law and well before 1350 this had also spread (to a greater or lesser extent) outside England to Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
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