Anthony Musson
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Pragmatic legal knowledge
in Medieval law in context
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The acquisition and development of legal consciousness among those who were not themselves lawyers or judges are significant features of the political history of the period 1215-1381. An individual's obligations within a particular community and his or her awareness of those obligations contributed further to the level of consciousness of the law. Attendance at public courts was an important way of acquiring legal knowledge. Attendance at church, required by the 1215 Lateran Council, provided various opportunities for the acquisition of legal knowledge. At all levels of the court system, legal knowledge was a concomitant of experience gained from, and in many cases a necessary requirement for, employment as a court official and service as a juror. Finally, an understanding of the law could be acquired either directly or indirectly from the growing documentary culture, from book learning and/or from exposure to literature relating to legal matters.

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Medieval law in context

The growth of legal consciousness from Magna Carta to the Peasants’ Revolt


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