Margery S. Schauer and Frederick Schauer
William and Mary Law Review, Volume 22, Issue 1, Article 3 (1980)
Until recently it was common to use the state trials of Tudor England in order to generalize about legal principles, procedures, and institutions in the Tudor era.’ Now the pendulum seems to have swung to the opposite extreme. Legal historians have recognized that the state trials were politically inspired and that the procedures employed in these trials bore little resemblance to the procedures prevalent in more mundane civil and criminal litigation. Scholars today often treat the state trials as political events having little if any relevance to the study of the history of legal institutions.
This latter view, de-emphasizing the importance of the state trials to legal history, seems as misguided as the former view, which over-emphasized the legal significance of the state trial. The state trials were not midnight executions carried out by armies at the snap of the monarch’s fingers.