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Engines of TruthProducing Veracity in the Victorian Courtroom$
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Wendie E Schneider

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300125665

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300125665.001.0001

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The Queen’s Proctor

The Queen’s Proctor

An Inquisitorial Experiment

(p.143) Chapter Four The Queen’s Proctor
Engines of Truth

Wendie Ellen Schneider

Yale University Press

In the new Divorce Court, concerns about perjury regarding matters as delicate as adultery prompted the re-invention of the Queen’s Proctor in 1860. If the Queen’s Proctor discovered upon investigation that petitioners had lied, they would be denied their divorces. This chapter follows the activities of the Queen’s Proctor during its first twenty-five years, revealing the ways in which cases were selected for scrutiny. Ultimately, the Queen’s Proctor’s inquisitorial role in divorce cases was deemed a failure, both because of moral scruples about the double standard in divorce law and because of conflicts generated by the incompatibility of inquisitorial and common-law models.

Keywords:   Queen’s/King’s Proctor, Augustus Stephenson, Divorce Court, Double standard, Divorce law reform

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