DIGEST. \ topical arrangement or eompila . lion of legal rules, judicial deeisions. or statutes, in condensed form; particularly. the authorita tive compilation of the civil law. otherwisc known a. the l'andeets, made under the author ity of Justinian (530 5:1:1r. See Civil. 'out.: I N sec rs.
In English and American law the term is ap plied to a great number and variety of legal works of reference, ranging from such encyclo paedic collections of special treatises as Bacon's and Vincr's .kbridgments and Comyn's 1)igest, to the alphabetical arrangements Of statutes and of case law Which have monopolized the title in recent yea•-. The former kind of digest was a favorite form of legal authorship in the earlier period of the common law. and several of these la t ions—a s t hose of Stat ham !about 1470), Fit zherbert ( 15161, 1:rooke ( 1.56s ), and Rolle ( lGGti)—long maintained a high position as legal authorities. The earliest of these are still useful as containing references to eases as yet buried in the Year-Books and other early reports. As authorities. however. they have all been superseded in the estimation of lawyers by more systematic treatises.
The modern digest of case law is in effect an elaborate index to the enormous •olh•ctions of judicial deeisions in which the common law of Great Britain and of the United States lies imbedded. The most authoritative of the Eng lish digests are those of Fisher and Chitty. Each American State has one or more of such compila tions. of which _\bbott's Encyclopc•die Digest of derision. is perhaps the most exten sive and complete. There are also digests of the federal remwts, of the United States statutes, and a comprehensive eompilation of all the Federal and State reports, known as the Century Digest. The plan of all these digests of ease law is substantially the same, consisting of an alpha betical arrangement of legal titles, under which are given brief statements of the rule or doctrine enunciated in each decision. together with the title •ind of the case in which the deci sion was rendered. (See AmtiOGNit:NT: IitToirr.) : \Vainliatigh. The Stuffy of CaseR (241 ed.. Boston. ; Lindley. "The Ilistory of Law Low Quorterip Bcricir (London, SR5).