Law and Justice in the Courts of Classical Athens

Law and Justice in the Courts of Classical Athens

Author: Adriaan Lanni
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Rating:
Category: History

In this 2006 book, Adriaan Lanni draws on contemporary legal thinking to present a model of the legal system of classical Athens. She analyses the Athenians’ preference in most cases for ad hoc, discretionary decision-making, as opposed to what moderns would call the rule of law. Lanni argues that the Athenians consciously employed different approaches to legal decision-making in different types of courts. The varied approaches to legal process stems from a deep tension in Athenian practice and thinking, between the demand for flexibility of legal interpretation consistent with the exercise of democratic power by ordinary Athenian jurors; and the demand for consistency and predictability in legal interpretation expected by litigants and necessary to permit citizens to conform their conduct to the law. Lanni presents classical Athens as a case study of a successful legal system that, by modern standards, had an extraordinarily individualised and discretionary approach to justice.

About The Author

Adriaan Lanni is Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She has contributed to the Yale Law Journal, the Law and History Review, The Cambridge Companion to Greek Law, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Legal History.