This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol1 Introduction To The Study Of Law Legal History", by Albert H. Putney. Also see: Popular Law-Dictionary.
Even after the Norman Conquest adjective law in England was of a very primitive character. The trial by battle, oath helpers, and the various ordeals were the principal methods employed to determine the truth of the claim or accusation, and no logical method of weighing the value of evidence had yet been evolved. While the rules of procedure and evidence were unscientific and ill-adapted for the discovery of the truth, they were, on the other hand, strictly enforced and little or no discretion was allowed to the presiding judge. For example, where a continuance was sought the exact delay which might be granted for each excuse was definitely set out. Nothing was left to the discretion of the court which could possibly be covered by general statutes or rules.