Prerogative Court of Canterbury: Allegations
The allegations in this series contain the initial statement of a case by the proctor acting for the plaintiff. They were the first stage in pleadings before a civil law court.
Exhibits cited in the allegations are frequently filed with them. Exhibits include such documents as will drafts, extracts from registers of baptisms and marriages, lists of debts, and inventories of the deceased's estate.
Litigation in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury was concerned with the authenticity of documents produced as wills, the testamentary capacity of the deceased, the marital status or consanguinity of persons seeking letters of administration of intestates, and the conduct of executors and administrators in distributing estates. The first plea in proceedings in civil law courts like the Prerogative Court of Canterbury took the form of an allegation produced by the proctor acting for the plaintiff. Defendants' responses to these allegations are called answers. An answer might lead to further allegations, answered by corresponding answers. The next stage in litigation was the examination of witnesses. Witnesses were examined on written interrogatories submitted by the proctors (interrogatories are sometimes referred to as articles.) The resulting documents were the depositions of witnesses which generally need to be read in conjunction with the interrogatories.
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