Peter Goodrich


Early common law, both Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman, offered plaintiffs a choice between love and law. Lovedays were more frequent than lawdays, and love explicitly took precedence over formal law. The judgment of love took the form of agreement through amity rather than enmity, affect rather than agon or trial. Using the institution of lovedays as a starting point, Goodrich's Article goes on to trace a longer-term continental history of courts and judgments of love that spans over five centuries and plays out in poetry, theater, and literature as much as in any secular legal institution. Offering a synopsis of the tradition of laws of love, this Article ends by spelling out the distinctive features of such a system of lovers' laws or amatory jurisprudence.

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