To analyse the use of "thou" and "you" in Early Modern English, many scholars (for example Brown & Gilman and Mulholland) have looked at plays, especially from Shakespeare. They start out from the idea that language in literature corresponds to a certain degree to spoken language. This should be even more the case with plays because they come very close to dialogues. Recorts of court trials also provide us with a lot of research material. English Common Law is a case law. That means that judges do not come to a verdict by consulting written law but by looking at earlier cases (precedents). In such a legal system, the exact knowledge of previous trials is absolutely necessary (cf. Finkensteadt, 62). Unfortunately, the Year Books, which contain the law reports from 1268 till 1535 are almost exclusively in French (cf. Finkensteadt 63). Nevertheless there are some protocols of trials which quote for example testimonies of witnesses from different social classes.