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A Guide to Early Irish Law by Fergus Kelly

By Fergus Kelly

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73 Fo~ a discussion of the term drecht, see Mac Cana op cit 111-5 14 Enu 18 (1958) 45. " . \,~Jtr;u 17 (1955) 4-6. 16-7. 79 However, there remains a tradition of the fili's involvement in the original framing of the laws. Cdrus Bescnai (a text of the Senchas Mdr school) asserts that the fl/i Dubthach maccu Lugair - a convert to Christianity - showed the law to Saint Patrick. What did not conflict with the word of God was retained 'in the legal system of the judges by the Church and the poets'. 80 Similarly, the Senchas Mar text on distraint traces the origin of the law on this topic to 'the advice of the Church, the customs of the tliatha, the true laws of the poets, the opinions of lords, and the advice of judges'.

Triad 96 includes the judge who is .. 127 A false judgement may even have physical side-effects on the judge responsible. The cheeks of the legendary judge Sencha are said to -have become blotched when he pronounced a biased judgement \ (ci/breth)128 regarding legal entry by women (see p. 187). '~ judgement (ffrbreth) on the matter. No doubt to reduce the chance of error, it is clear that many cases '('were decided by more than one judge. -rangement of a law-court (Appendix 1 No. 71) refers to the judges \~(brithemain) who 'expound and promulgate'130 their judgement.

Davies, 'Clerics as rulers', in Lotin and the Vernacular languages in Early Medieval Britain, ed. P. Brooks, (Leicester 1982) 82. 6 Corifessio §52. 7 ibid. §42. 8 IP 54-9. For a discussion of its date, see CEIS 49-50. 9 IP 56 §14. 10 ibid. 54 §8. II ibid. 56 §13. 12 ibid. 54 §6. 13 For dating, see ibid. 4. 14 ibid. 82 §27. 'high-ranking clergy are treated as equal or superior to kings. f 14 cumals,17which is the same as that of a provincial king. 20 Uraicecht Beec " gives the SUI litre 'expert in ecclesiastical learning' the.

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