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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In civil law courts, early modern civil procedure was based on the Roman-canonical model of proceedings originally developed in late medieval ecclesiastical courts and by academic scholarship. Its main features were the principle of party disposition and its corollary, the adversarial principle. These features also governed to a large extent English common law proceedings in civil litigation. The new secular and ecclesiastical social elites emerging in urban environments from the late eleventh century onwards rejected traditional forms of procedures because they perceived them as arbitrary. Early modern political developments tended to reorganize the courts’ systems in a polity under the authority of the sovereign, but in most territories, a patchwork of courts remained in place. The fundamental structure of civil proceedings remained by and large in place in the system of national courts established from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century onwards.

Keywords: civil procedure, early modern Europe, Middle Ages, common law, Roman-canonical law, legal profession, Law French, case law, courts

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