Seeking Justice, Repairing Reputations: Defamation Cases in the Ely Act Book, 1374-1382

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Seeking Justice, Repairing Reputations: Defamation Cases in the Ely Act Book, 1374-1382

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Title: Seeking Justice, Repairing Reputations: Defamation Cases in the Ely Act Book, 1374-1382
Author: Enriquez, Ana Elizabeth ORCID  0000-0003-4097-5016
Citation: Enriquez, Ana Elizabeth. 2010. Seeking Justice, Repairing Reputations: Defamation Cases in the Ely Act Book, 1374-1382. Bachelor's thesis, Harvard College.
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Abstract: This thesis examines the Ely Act Book, the record of the consistory court of Ely from 1374 to 1382. It uses the defamation cases from the Act Book as a lens to examine the influence of the court. After a brief discussion of the Act Book itself – its survival, its construction, and its layout, the thesis explores the Ely Consistory Court as an agent of the larger canon law system. It shows that the court enforced canon law, addressing the legal and pastoral concerns of the Church in England, and that the bishop of Ely at the time – Thomas Arundel – was committed to those goals. The second chapter examines the court from the perspective of the people who worked and sought justice in it. It first shows that the court’s emphasis on order and learning demanded the employment of bureaucrats like the man who wrote the Act Book, Robert Foxton. The court provided both a market for their skills and an opportunity to advance their careers. Then the thesis shows that the court also benefited the litigants. It offered both sides an opportunity for legal representation. For the plaintiffs, it provided a judicial solution to disputes, but at the same time it protected defendants with a strong standard of proof, and awarded court costs to the falsely accused.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:26515050
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