Court of Record
The Court of Record was established by King Edward VI in 1553. It meant that trials in Stratford were held in English, and they were open to the public. This helped local people to understand the law better, and made it more accessible.
The Court of Record tried cases involving things like debts, thefts and assaults. Bringing a case to court was a common way for local tradesmen and craftsmen to settle their disputes. Many of Stratford's leading men played a prominent role in the court, including John Shakespeare.
Most cases were settled through arbitration and compromise. And most people who were found guilty were fined rather than imprisoned. Pragmatic justice like this helped to keep Stratford running smoothly from day to day.