Looking for legal truth in 19th-century German courts

Vol. 325 of the Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte has been published

November 16, 2020

In the most recent addition to the series, Falko Maxin focuses on a profound change that occurred in German procedural law in the course of the 19th century. It concerns a central question: How did judges determine the truth of a to be proven circumstance? The quasi-mathematical approach connected with ‘legal theory of evidence’ was replaced by the judge’s ‘free consideration of evidence’, an approach that stresses the judge’s subjective conviction and is still used today. By examining both civil- and criminal jurisdictions, and quoting relevant sources, the study examines various explanations in the search for ‘legal truth’.

The author was a PhD student at the Institute’s International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Comparative Legal History in Frankfurt am Main.

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