Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Judex Definition:

A form of judge in early Roman law.

In the early years of Roman law, trials would be convened seasonally to deal with the backup of litigation. From among the wealthy patrician class, citizens would be selected to act as judges; to hear the dispute and make a decision. These judges were not lawyers though they would be helped by the Roman equivalent of lawyers; the jurisconsult.

Buckland and McNair described the judex as:

"... not a lawyer but a private citizen ... little more than an arbitrator".

The Twelve Tables referred interchangeably to judex and arbiter.

In some cases, more than one judex was appointed; in which case, in the event of disagreement, the decision was rendered on a majority vote.

Note usage in the well-known Latin legal principle nemo judex In parte sua.


  • Buckland, W. and McNair, A., Roman Law and Common Law (Cambridge: University Press, 1965), pages 3 and 6.
  • Smith, W., A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (John Murray, London, 1875).

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