In the early modern period, Dutch citizens could choose among a variety of judicial and so called infrajudicial forums to settle their disputes. In Leiden, these institutions consisted of neighbourhood organizations, guilds, textile associations, civic militia, church councils, notaries, subordinate courts and the urban court of aldermen. This chapter discusses the ways in which the inhabitants of Leiden used these institutions to put conflicts to an end. The concepts of ‘forum shopping’ and ‘forum hopping’ are thereby explored – i.e. the pragmatic choices people made in drawing on diverse instances of conflict settlement. The chapter is based on a database containing thousands of disputes that left traces in the archives of various
judicial and infra- and extrajudicial forums of dispute settlement. The chapter evidences how going to court was often used as an additional instrument of everyday social control. It also shows how plaintiffs were generally focused on restoring peace and social balance, rather than furthering their dispute.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe uses of justice in global perspective, 1600-1900
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-02233-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-47678-3, 978-1-138-47679-0
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • social history, legal history

ID: 44801728