Harvard Law School Library

Bracton Online -- English

Previous   Volume 2, Page 304  Next    

Go to Volume:      Page:    

[001] for although 1to accept presents from all indiscriminately is most contemptible and
[002] avaricious, to accept them from no one is almost inhuman,2 as where friend accepts
[003] from friend, moved solely by friendship and affection.] 3The actor, whether he is
[004] demandant or plaintiff, must employ an intentio, [which] he must put forward in
[005] court before him who is to decide upon it, support it, [show and give the reasons
[006] why4 the action is his and that he is entitled to be party to the proceedings,] and
[007] prove it.5 The reus must employ exception and defence, as will be explained more
[008] fully below.6

Of the judge's power.

[010] The judge, that his judgments may be valid, must have jurisdiction, ordinary or
[011] delegated. Nor does it suffice to have jurisdiction unless he has the power of coercion;7
[012] could he not ensure the execution of his judgment, his judgments would be illusory.8
[013] Nor does a judge ordinary have jurisdiction and execution in every case,

Of the division of jurisdictions; of the church and the realm.

[015] 9[There are spiritual causes, in which a lay judge has neither cognisance nor (since
[016] he has no power of coercion) execution, cognisance of which belongs to ecclesiastical
[017] judges who govern and defend the priesthood, and secular causes, jurisdiction
[018] over which belongs to kings and princes who defend the realm, with which ecclesiastical
[019] judges must not meddle.] since their rights or jurisdictions are limited and
[020] separate, except when sword ought to aid sword,10 for there is a great difference
[021] between the clerical estate and the realm.11

Of the regulation of jurisdictions in the realm (as to the ecclesiastical estate nothing for the present).

[023] Since nothing relating to the clerical estate is relevant to this treatise, we therefore
[024] must see who, in matters pertaining to the realm, [has ordinary jurisdiction,12 and
[025] then who] ought to act as judge. It is clear that it is the king himself and no other,
[026] could he do so unaided, for to that he is held bound by virtue of his oath. For at his
[027] coronation the king must swear, having taken an oath in the name of Jesus Christ,
[028] these three promises to the people subject to him.

Of the oath the king must swear at his coronation.

[030] 13In the first place, that to the utmost of his power he will employ his might to
[031] secure and will enjoin that true peace shall be maintained for the church of God and
[032] all Christian people throughout his reign. Secondly, that he will forbid rapacity to
[033] his subjects of all degrees. Thirdly, that he will cause all judgments to be given with
[034] equity and mercy, so that he may himself be shown the mercy of a clement and
[035] merciful God,14 in order that by his justice all men may enjoy unbroken peace.


1-2. D.

3. Continued from 302, n. 19; Br. and Azo, 198-9

4. ‘quare’

5. Infra iii, 68, iv, 245

6. Infra iv, 245

7. Infra iii, 46, 121, 123, iv, 63; Tancred, 97; Richardson in Traditio, vi, 69-70

8. Drogheda, 112, 115, 137, 165

9. Br. and Azo, 198-9

10. Infra 383, iv, 278, 327, 375

11. Infra iv, 248, 281, 298

12. The portion supra 166, n. 2 belongs here; a portion belonging at 306, n. 5, has been transferred with it; see also 306, n. 24

13-14. Coronation oath, third recension: Richardson in Speculum, xxiv, 44: Hoyt in Traditio, xi, 238, 251

Contact: specialc@law.harvard.edu
Page last reviewed April 2003.
© 2003 The President and Fellows of Harvard College