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Title: Parties to court actions in Saga Age Iceland (930-1030 AD)
Author: Neff, C. N.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3440 5776
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1982
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This study considers the legal and practical factors affecting the right and ability of individuals in Saga Age Iceland (9JO-IOJOAD) to prosecute and defend court actions. It is based on 118 law suits in historical sources and family sagas about the Saga Age which are listed in the Appendices, 96 being outlined in detail and 78 of these being included in Summary Tables. The 12th century laws of Gragas are used as a base for the study of the formal law in the law suits, as there was probably little major development in the law between the end of the Saga Age and the writing of Gragas, although it cannot be relied on for details of Saga Age law. The formal· laws concerning parties to court actions are considered in terms of the responsibility for law enforcement and the duty to prosecute, financial, social, mental, age and sex restrictions on who could appear in court, the right to transfer a 8ui~ and the variations in rules between different courts. . The practical problems faced by1itigants because of abuses of the law by other litigants are considered, including the use of force and violence, abuse of legal process and of trust by godar, pursuit of suits relentlessly to the limit of the law, and acquisition of unjustified wealth by helping others with their suits. The final chapter summarises the evidence for individual equality and independence in prosecuting law suits, and considers some of the historical background to the apparently relatively high degree of concern for the individual in early Iceland. The legal equality and independence of males in litigation is shown to have been quite high, although the practical problems an individual could face severely reduced this, and females appear to have been more restricted in their rights.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: CB History of civilization ; DL Northern Europe. Scandinavia