During a plea a plaintiff may allege that a contract or trespass was made in the marketplace, in order to exclude his adversary from waging his law and to obtain a favourable inquest from a vicinity other than that where the deed was actually committed. If the defendant wishes he may be given the chance to disprove that it was in the marketplace; if an inquest or confession of the plaintiff finds that it was not, the plaintiff shall be in mercy for making a false plea, but shall nonetheless be allowed to enter a new plea and have a new inquest based on the location where the deed actually took place. The same is to hold for deeds alleged to be committed at the fish quay during fishing season. If a plea is to be decided by inquest, it is to be made by men of the vicinity in which the deed was committed. If it is found that a contract or trespass was done in the market, the plaintiff must initiate his complaint within 15 days of the deed; if the plaintiff waits longer without prosecuting, the defendant may be at his law if he wishes, regardless of the market being named as the location.
[It was evidently felt a superior means of getting to the truth of a case to have an inquest of witnesses from the marketplace or quay busy locations where witnesses would not be in short supply than to rely on the word of the parties supported by compurgators (who were really more akin to character witnesses than witnesses to events central to the plea). Compurgation was the necessary resort where witnesses to events were lacking, or where (as indicated at the end of this chapter) so much time had elapsed after the deed that witnesses might be hard to find, or perhaps their memory hard to trust. The opening of the chapter, however, does suggest that an inquest could be "fixed" by obtaining jurors from a location where one of the parties was in favour. The qualifier "in fishing season" appears in the Liber Consuetudinum version but not the later one of the Book of Pleas; this may simply be a scribal omission.]