I ask the reader, if he finds in this work anything superfluous or erroneous, to  correct and amend it, or pass it over with eyes half closed,1 for 2 to keep all in mind  and err in nothing is divine rather than human.3
The author's preamble.
 4In this tractate, as in others, these must be considered: 5the matter with which it  deals, its intention, its utility, the end it serves and the division of learning into  which it falls.
The matter with which it deals.
 6Its matter consists of the judgments and the cases that daily arise and come to  pass7 in the realm of England.8
The intention of the author.
 9The intention of the author is to treat of such matters10 and to instruct and teach  all who desire to be taught what action lies and what writ, [and], according as  the plea is real or personal,11 how and by what procedure, [by suing and proving,  defending and excepting, replicating and the like,] suits and pleas are decided  according to English laws and customs, and [the art] of preparing records and  enrollments according to what is alleged and denied,12 and to treat of these so that  13those who err may be instructed and set right and those who obstinately do  otherwise punished. The general intention is to treat of law that the unskilled may  be made expert, the expert more expert,1415the bad good and the good better,  as well by the fear of punishment as by the hope of reward,17 according to this [verse]:  Good men hate to err from love of virtue;  The wicked from fear of pain.
 18The utility [of this work] is that it 19ennobles apprentices and doubles their  honours and profits and enables them to rule in the realm and sit in the royal  chamber, on the very seat of the king, on the throne of God, so to speak, judging  tribes and nations, plaintiffs and defendants, in lordly order,20 in the place of the  king,21 as though in the place of Jesus Christ, since the king is God's vicar.22 For  judgments are not made by man but by God,23 which is why the heart of a king  who rules well is said to be in the hand of God.24
The end served.
 25The end of this work is to quiet disputes and avert wrongdoing,26 that peace  and justice may be preserved in the realm. 27It must be set under ethics, moral  science, as it were, since it treats of customary principles of behaviour.28
1. Azo, Summa Inst. proe. Just., no. 2: conniventibus oculis
2-3. C. 188.8.131.52; Azo, Summa Cod., summarium, no. 3; 1.17, no. 4; Drogheda, 3
4. Br. and Azo, 5, 13, 15. 18; Richardson in E.H.R., lix, 26; Traditio, vi, 65