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1100 - 1400
A husband's right to answer in court for his wife

If a married woman was charged with wrongdoing by the town court, her husband could answer for her actions himself. However, note that the language of the law suggests that he was not required to do so.


Of a burges til ansuer for his wyff [Of a burgess to answer for his wife]

Each married man may answer for his married wife and stand in judgment and do for her all things that the court orders him, if she be charged of any thing. And know that in all town pleas there is used thuertnay [the right of outright denial] in defending wrong and unlaw.

Ilke spousyt man may ansuer for his spousyt wyff and stande in iugement and do for hir all thing the court demys hym, geyff that scho be challangyt of ony thing. And it is to wyt that in borrow mutis thar is hantyd and oysyt thuertnay in defendande wrang and unlawe.


Ancient Laws and Customs of the Burghs of Scotland, Vol. 1.1124-1424 ed Cosmo Innes (Edinburgh: Scottish Burgh Records Society, 1868), Leges Burgorum, no 31, p.16 Translation by E. Ewan

Tags: law