Compurgation Law and Legal Definition

Compurgation was a defence that was used primarily in medieval law. It allowed a defendant to have supporters or witnesses frequently 11 in number to testify that they believed the defendant was telling the truth. These supporters were called compurgators. If the defendant got the required number of compurgators to back his/her denial by their oaths, s/he won the case. On the other hand if the required number was not got, or if they did not swear in proper form, ‘the oath bursts,’ and s/he lost the case. This was finally abolished in 1833.

Compurgation is also termed as wager of law or trial by oath.