Nicoletta Rolla

In the streets and in court. Defence strategies inside and outside the tribunal (18th century Turin)

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This article analyzes the defence strategies in a civil and criminal tribunal of first instance, the vicariate of Turin. The presence of judges there was severely limited by the adoption of procedures for summary justice in 1724. Defence strategies were formulated around the tribunal in which the parties decided to resolve their dispute, the decision to represent oneself or delegate one's case to a procurator, and the arguments or language utilized. The quantitative analysis of collected data along with the reconstruction of a few important cases makes it possible to trace the complex relationship between the judicial and the extrajudicial in dispute resolution. Actors made a wise use of the tribunal and of the opportunities opened by summary justice, which one can trace for example in the adoption of language borrowed from official rhetoric. Preceding the analysis of the civil and criminal actions of the vicariate of Turin is an account of the debate concerning the first (1723) and second (1729) redaction of the Royal Constitutions. This material enables us to understand the cultural and political context in which the tribunal operated.

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