Irina Metzler
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Non-consenting adults
Laws and intellectual disability
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Pre-modern laws mainly concentrated on the dis/ability of intellectual disability (ID) for agency and contractual powers, inheritance, also culpability and guardianship. English laws had different results for persons with ID, depending on whether they were subject to the Prerogativa Regis or to borough custom. By the end of the thirteenth century, four English jurists and their legal texts, Bracton, Fleta, the Mirror of Justices and Britton, had assimilated notions derived from those in the Prerogativa Regis. Britton, an Anglo-Norman law book of the late thirteenth century, was probably written during the reign of Edward I and appears to rely heavily on the earlier Bracton and Fleta for passages relating to idiocy and insanity. In medieval English legal history, the judicial inquiry into the state of mind of Emma de Beston, who was certified an idiot in July 1383, is probably the best-known case.

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Fools and idiots?

Intellectual disability in the Middle Ages


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