Sunday, February 24, 2008

Question from Grace - Elizabethan trials

How did a trial run in Elizabethan times? Was it anything like today's system, with judges, a jury and witnesses and so forth? I know there's two types of trial, but what's the difference between them?
(part of a grade 12 english assignment - i have to perform a dramatic monologue and i want to be a witness at a trial, so i need to know how a trial runs)


  1. There are a few good books available in Tudor-era courts and court procedure. And even though I am not an expert on history of the law and legal courts, I can tell you that there were indeed jury trials in the Elizabethan period. However, the judges were full-time professional judges only in some of the London courts. In cities and towns outside of London, there were one or more local part-time magistrates (rather than "judges"), and they often had little or no formal training in the law. Attorneys were also relatively uncommon in trials outside of London. Even within London, cases were only rarely argued by attorneys, as far as I know. On the whole, an Elizabethan trial did not look anything like what you might see today on "Law and Order." But for specifics, you'll need to find a good book on Tudor-era law courts at your local university library. Unless one of the other frequent visitors here has expertise in the subject......

  2. I'm not sure what the names of the two trials were, but I know for a fact that they were nothing like they are today. There is a movie called The Other Bolyen Girl, it shows you a couple of tials from way back when.

  3. The trial is somewhat the same now as it was in Tudor England
    This is still very much an English country
    Our judicial system is based on English rule


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