Meaning of wager of law in English:

wager of law


  • A form of trial in which the defendant was required to produce witnesses who would swear to his or her innocence.

    ‘Some authorities say that the common law never knew compurgation, as it arose well before the Norman Conquest, but that it did know the wager of law, by which the accused was said to purge himself from guilt.’
    • ‘The early methods of trial were compurgation or trial by ordeal or wager of law.’
    • ‘In early times, it was more common to have wager of law or trial by ordeal.’
    • ‘It is tempting to criticize the trial by ordeal, wager of law and judicial combat for their apparent irrationality and cruelty.’