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Settling Disputes in Medieval Dubrovnik by Court Proceedings, Revenge or Out-of-Court Settlement

Nella Lonza

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 873 Kb

str. 57-104

preuzimanja: 1.437



On the basis of about 2,400 judicial records from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, the author has reconstructed several models of criminal procedure which were to develop in medieval Dubrovnik: the accusation (adversary) procedure with the symmetrical position of the plaintiff and the defendant, which fell into disuse in the second half of the thirteenth century; the asymmetrical accusation procedure, distinguished by the defendant’s passive position; the inquisition procedure in the Criminal court, and the inquisition procedure conducted before political institutions. The author has also examined some other means of settling disputes: revenge and out-ofcourt settlement. The quantitative analysis of the court records indicates a significant increase in proceedings initiated by private accusation since the latter half of the fourteenth century. The association of the procedural regulations with the statistical data pertaining to the stage up to which the proceedings were pursued, shows that a very large portion of the cases ended just before the witnesses were heard. This can be explained by the disposition of the plaintiff to abandon the case, most probably due to an agreement reached with the offender. The author argues that the plaintiff tended to employ the criminal procedure as a pressure tactic aimed at reaching an extra-judicial settlement. In pursuit of social harmony and order, the state welcomed the practice of outof- court settlements, encouraging the plaintiffs to favour them over court procedure.

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