From the summatim cognoscere to the de plano trial: the summary procedure in Roman Law and in the Middle Ages
The need to simplify the legal process for the handling of certain cases is common to legal systems of all times. The legislator has to strike a balance between the right of defence of the parties and the need for procedural economy, for the purpose of a faster resolution of the dispute. The summaria cognitio is an ancient legal device that responds to the principle of procedural economy, but it has changed many times over the course of history. Undoubtedly, its origins date back to the Justinian law, in which the summatim introduced the cognition of the incidental questions in the course of a judicial process which is already begun. In the medieval times, during which the exigence to reduce the duration of the judicial process has re-emerged, the summaria cognitio has been recovered from the Roman legal tradition and, at the same time, has been transformed in an entirely new legal device: a shorter special process, cognitione plena.
Keywords: summaria cognitio; summatim; Saepe contigit; summary process.