arbitration, dispute resolution, Julius Caesar

Document Type



With the recent increase in mandatory arbitration for small civil disputes and voluntary arbitration for much larger cases, it is easy to suppose that dispute resolution by someone other than a government- appointed judge is a novel, imaginative creation of the modern legal system.

But for the Romans who lived in Julius Caesar's time, indeed from several hundred years B.C. to at least 300 A.D., most civil matters never went to an official "judge." Instead, almost all such disputes were resolved by a lay arbitrator under a remarkably flexible and enduring system of civil procedure that worked as effectively as ours and, perhaps, more so.



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