The adjective law of the Babylonians was always far less advanced than their substantive law. While many of the provisions of the latter may compare not unfavorably with modern legal conceptions, the former is on the level of that of races of a low grade of legal development.

The administration of the courts seems to have been largely in the hands of the priestly class. This was perhaps largely brought about by the numerous and complicated oaths required, both in business transactions and in legal proceedings.

No scientific systems for weighing the value or truth of evidence was ever devised by this people. Witnesses seem to have also acted, to a certain extent, in the capacity of jurymen, as was the case in early English law. Cases, if possible, were settled upon the authority of written instruments. To prevent their alteration an ingenious system was resorted to. Written instruments, written on baked bricks, were made out in duplicate; these duplicates were then fastened together in such a manner that the inner one could not be reached without destroying the outer one. If it was claimed by either party that the outer tablet had been tampered with, this tablet was destroyed and the inner one exposed to view.

The following translation of a Babylonian record will help as an illustration of the court proceedings of this country:

"Ilu-bani, on his arrest, makes claim to the garden of Sin-Magir, which Mar-Martu bought. They went to the judges, and these brought them to the door of the goddess Nin-Marki. To the judges of the door of Nin-Marki, Ilu-bani swore in the gate of Nin-Marki as follows: 'I am the son of Sin-Magir; he adopted me, and my seal {i. e., the sealed contract of adoption) is not broken.' Thus he swore. Since Rim-Sin adjudged the garden of the house to Ilu-bani, Sin-muballit has laid claim to the garden and brought suit against Ilu-bani for it. They went to the judges, and the judges brought them before the * * * and witnesses, and in the door of Marduk, Sussa, Sin, Husa and Nin-Marki, the daughter of Marduk they placed them. The earlier witness of Mar-Martu in the door of Nin-Marki, where Ilu-bani said, 'I am the son, it belongs to me,' adjudged the garden and house to Ilu-bani. Sin-muballit shall lay no complaint as to illegality, or bring any further suit against him. They swear by Sin, Samos, Marduk and King Hammurabi. Before Sin-imfurani, the president of the court, Etelka-Sin, Apil-irristi, Ubarru, Zanbil-arad-Sin, Ahia, Kab-dugami, Samas-bani, the son of Abi-dara, Zaninkasin, Izkur-Ea, Banila. Sealed with the seal of the witnesses."