The ecclesiastical courts brought ordinary people into contact with the norms and doctrines that academic canonists expounded in their classrooms and the flood of decretals that threatened to overwhelm canonical judges and practitioners. Those courts, which in England were sometimes called Courts Christian, used canonical rules to settle the disputes that litigants brought before them and to impose disciplinary sanctions upon those who infringed the church’s rules of behaviour. Like the law itself, canonical courts in the early twelfth century rem ained ad hoc affairs and had not yet developed a systematic structure. They also lacked a corps of trained personnel to dispatch their business in an orderly and systematic way.