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[9] No one begins a portrait by painting or modelling the feet, and no art finds its completion at the point where it should begin. Otherwise what will happen if we have not time to write our speech? Will not the result of such a reversal of the proper order of things be that we shall be caught napping? We must therefore review the subject-matter in the order laid down, but write our speech in the order in which we shall deliver it.

X. Every cause in which one side attacks and the other defends consists either of one or more controversial questions. In the first case it is called simple, in the second complex. An example of the first is when the subject of enquiry is a theft or an adultery taken by itself. In complex cases the several questions may all be of the same kind, as in cases of extortion, or of different kinds, as when a man is accused at one and the same time of homicide and sacrilege. Such cases no longer arise in the public courts, since the praetor allots the different charges to different courts in accordance with a definite rule; but they still are of frequent occurrence in the Imperial or Senatorial courts, and were frequent in the days when they came up for trial before the people.1 Private suits again are often tried by one judge, who may have to determine many different points of law.

1 In the permanent courts (quaestiones perpetuae). There were separate courts for, different offences. In cases brought before the Senate or the Emperor a number of different charges might be dealt with at once.

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load focus Introduction (Harold Edgeworth Butler, 1920)
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