Open Exeter Research (ORE) will be unavailable on Tuesday 5th May from 8:15pm until 3am Wednesday 6th May. Apologies in advance.
Social exclusivity or justice for all? Access to justice in the fourteenth century
Cambridge University Press
The outlaw, residing in the idyllic ‘wood of Belregard’, is a powerful and evocative image in medieval literature. Embodying a strong sense of social justice and imbued with utopian qualities, both the outlaw figure and the greenwood can be taken to symbolise the aspirations, or perhaps more appropriately the plight, of those who had no apparent prospect of ‘justice’, either through lack of access to the legal system or on account of their treatment within it. The apparent difficulties faced in trying to clear one’s name are portrayed as stemming from endemic social prejudice and corruption within the legal system. As such, and in what is a recurring theme during the fourteenth century, the outlaw figure presents a picture of social exclusion amounting to a serious indictment of royal justice in late-medieval England
Author's draft; final version published in: Rosemary Horrox and Sarah Rees-Jones eds., Pragmatic Utopias, 1200-1630 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 136-55. ISBN 9780511036880 © Cambridge University Press 2001
In: Rosemary Horrox and Sarah Rees-Jones eds., Pragmatic Utopias, 1200-1630 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 136-55