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Title: The Plaint in Athenian Law and Legal Procedure
Authors: Harris, Edward M.
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Edward M. Harris, "The Plaint in Athenian Law and Legal Procedure", in: Michele Faraguna (edited by), "Archives and archival documents in ancient societies: Legal documents in ancient societies IV, Trieste 30 September - 1 October 2011", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2013, pp. 143-162.
This essay examines the contents of the plaint (engklema) and its role in Athenian law and legal procedure. The plaint contained the full names of the accuser and the defendant with patronymic and demotic and the name of the action the accuser was bringing against the defendant and the names of those who witnessed the summons. The plaint also contained a brief summary of the accuser’s main charges all expressed in the language of the relevant statute. The plaint therefore determined the main issues about which the judges would decide and defined what was relevant and irrelevant (exo tou pragmatos). It ensured that the judges would concentrate on the question, did the defendant violate the law? and that they would pay no attention to irrelevant issues like public service. After the trial, the plaint was kept on file in the office of the relevant magistrate and could be produced as evidence in subsequent litigation. In this way it helped to uphold the important principle of res iudicata.
Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 978-88-8303-460-2
Appears in Collections:01. Archives and archival documents in ancient societies

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