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Petitions, Litigation, and Social Control in Roman Egypt$
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Benjamin Kelly

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599615.001.0001

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Private Dispute Resolution and the Shadow of the Law

Private Dispute Resolution and the Shadow of the Law

(p.244) 7 Private Dispute Resolution and the Shadow of the Law
Petitions, Litigation, and Social Control in Roman Egypt

Benjamin Kelly

Oxford University Press

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

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