Ancient Greek legal system/procedure of Justice

Ancient Greek legal system/procedure of Justice


Legal procedure was simple.  

Each party had the opportunity to present their case, cite relevant law, produce witnesses, rebut their opposition and sum up their case.  

Each phase in the case was time-limited and monitored by an official using a water clock.  No trial lasted more than a single day.

After the parties had spoken, the case went to the jury which received no payment or complicated instructions from a judge.  

The jury did not deliberate.  

They just voted by secret ballot.  

A simple majority decided the issue.  

If their penalty fell outside the bounds of written law, the winning party could propose a legal penality and the defendant could propose a different penality and the jury could then vote between these two.  No creative penalties were thus possible.

Normally this process led both sides to suggest moderate penalties, since the jury would be put off by extreme penalties and choose the moderate (and likely legal) penalty of the other side.

Allegory of Justice.


Charles Meynier

French 1768-1832

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