Judges are at the heart of the law. The earliest judges used to rely on divine wisdom to settle cases. The judicial function was largely one of supervising events – like trial by ordeal – designed to reveal a divine truth. Later, judges came to have the function of applying what today we would call ‘rules of procedure’ to decide cases. Before there was any significant written law, judges were reliant on what communities said was the custom by which ownership of something was determined, or rights of way were established, or what was right and what wrong behaviour. So judges simply evaluated the arguments on either side according to general principles. It was from such a system, as we shall see in more detail in Chapter 4, that the doctrine of precedent developed. Judges eventually came to be officially appointed as part of ‘the King’s Court’, a body that included all sorts of officials. The law ‘court’ system today originates in the forum that served the monarch – the royal court.