“Popular justice” can roughly be defined as “the exercise of justice by the people”. The institutions and practices pertaining to this form of justice vary widely across time and geographical space. The 18th and 19th centuries constitute a key historical period for the transition to popular justice in Europe. On the one hand, many long-standing practices (ducking, Rügegerichte) were progressively called into question. On the other hand, the democratization of European societies and the progressive advent of political liberalism helped bring about the emergence of an institutionalized popular justice with the establishment of institutions such as the justice of the peace and the jury. This book offers a comparative overview of the history of popular justice in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and England and sets the foundations for future research.
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