Private Dispute Resolution and the Shadow of the Law

Benjamin Kelly

in Petitions, Litigation, and Social Control in Roman Egypt

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599615
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731525 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents

Private Dispute Resolution and the Shadow of the Law

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This chapter argues that the evidence does not support the view that petitioning and litigation in Roman Egypt were usually a last resort, employed only if ‘private’ dispute resolution methods failed. Rather, the evidence shows petitioning and litigation in many cases underpinned and gave strength to ‘private’ mechanisms of resolving disputes: ‘private’ dispute resolution often took place in ‘the shadow of the law’. A petition could be a way of forcing another party to negotiate seriously for a settlement, or could raise the implicit threat of litigation to force another party’s compliance to a settlement reached through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.

Keywords: ‘private’ dispute resolution; ‘the shadow of the law’; negotiation; mediation; arbitration

Chapter.  18245 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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