->''"Trial by combat: Deciding a manís guilt or innocence in the eyes of the gods by having two other men hack each other to pieces. It tells you something about the gods."''
-->--'''Tyrion Lannister''', ''Series/GameOfThrones''

Traditionally, this is one of the [[RuleOfThree three]] basic ways of resolving a conflict or disagreement between two individuals or legal entities, the other two being Trial by Ordeal, and Trial by Arbitration (the only one recognised by modern democracies, and for which we have [[CrimeAndPunishmentTropes plenty of]] [[TheCourtroomIndex coverage already]]).

The idea behind it is very simple, which is probably why it's been used by numerous cultures throughout history: someone is accused of a crime, or two parties are descending into conflict over a matter of opinion or policy. In order to resolve this issue with the minimum of bloodshed, an individual is chosen to represent each side, and they fight. Winner takes all.

This works, supposedly, because RightMakesMight. Whichever side is in the right ''will'' win a fight, either because GoodHurtsEvil, or because of some kind of divine intervention. This practice was FairForItsDay, as the divinely sanctioned agreement that the matter was settled definitively no matter the outcome was a good way of preventing [[CycleOfRevenge generations]] of [[FeudingFamilies blood feuds]]. Naturally, this idea is passé now, and so the trope is associated with medieval and fantasy settings.

Note that there is no need for either the accused or the accuser to fight for themselves. Just as often, they will choose a champion to fight on their behalf, which is arguably good, because otherwise bullies could handily go around accusing pipsqueaks of crimes against them and beating them up for the recompense. On the other hand, this system gives a major advantage to the rich (or those most willing to spend money on the trial) because these champions [[OnlyInItForTheMoney often fight for payment, rather than justice]], and [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney whoever can hire the best fighter will usually win]].

This also says a lot about characterization of those who partake in the death match since an accused protagonist generally doesn't allow others to risk death on his/her behalf, but would rather fight his/her own battles. Alternatively, a heroic character may vouch his/her own life in defense of the accused, especially if said accused is unable to fend for him/herself. On the other hand, many antagonists are all too selfishly willing to avoid severe injuries or death from combat by having a more physically inclined minion to fight on their behalf.

Note also that these fights don't necessarily have to end in death, though they often do, especially if the accused is suspected of a capital crime.

If the trial takes place between representatives of opposing armies, you have a case of CombatByChampion. If the two are fighting over an insult, it's going to be a DuelToTheDeath, with all of the ThrowingDownTheGauntlet, etc. Be aware of the difference between this and DuelToTheDeath. Although they are similar and in many cases overlap, this is always sanctioned by the pervading culture whereas a duel is sometimes illicit. Also, the way of engaging a trial is different. Whereas a duel can be arranged entirely between the conflicting parties, a trial must be instigated at the behest of some authority figure (who will preside over the fight like a referee and may him/herself serve as champion, especially if he/she is of a {{Proud Warrior Race|Guy}}), and there have to be witnesses to verify how things went down.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'', [[TheRival Zechs Merquise]] is court martialed by OZ for disobeying orders and rebuilding the Wing Gundam. The sentence is death, but his friend Treize manages to propose this as an alternate sentence. Zechs is pitted against countless [[TheFederation Alliance]] soldiers, all fighting to win OZ's favor; if Zechs wins he's allowed to go free. Since this is only about one-fifth of the way through the series, of course he wins.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/ElfQuest'', this is the first part of The Trial of Hand, Head and Heart which Rayek challenges Cutter to. The trial of Hand combines dexterity and strength and the outcome is intentionally non-lethal for both participants.

* In the Literature/{{Child Ballad|s}} ''Literature/SirAldingar'', the queen demands this as her right, to defend herself against MaliciousSlander

[[folder: Fan Fic ]]
* In ''FanFic/TheBasaltCityChronicles'', the Empire of Smilodons has a hand-to-hand version of this as a civil, rather than criminal, trial. Only in extreme cases are the fights declared to be to the death, and almost always as a means of getting powerful nobles (who would be otherwise forced into a death match) to stop the feuds between their factions (if you win, your faction wins, but you yourself are exiled).
* The Autobots and Decepticons in ''FanFic/ThingsWeDontTellHumans'' are both pretty okay with this version of resolving a conflict, especially if honor is at stake, or if someone doubts if a character is adult enough for a responsibility. It leads to some pretty epic throw downs.
* In ''Fanfic/EarthsAlienHistory'', the bill of rights in the [[TheAlliance TeTO]] charter recognizes the right of accused criminals to have this in place of trial by jury, if it's a legally ordained practice in their home member-state.

[[folder: Film ]]
* In ''Film/{{Excalibur}}'', and [[KingArthur some of the source materials it's based on]], Queen Guenevere is accused of adultery against King Arthur with Lancelot. All of the knights had been afraid to level this accusation because her champion was Lancelot himself, whom no other knight can defeat.
* In ''Film/TheCantervilleGhost'' (the 1944 movie anyway) Sir Simon de Canterville runs away from a trial by combat fight (with [=TorJohnson=]), becoming the eponymous ghost after his father walls up the door to his room to prove he isn't there.
* Occurs (unsurprisingly) in the 1964 film version of ''ComicStrip/PrinceValiant''.
* Also occurs in the 1961 film ''El Cid''.
* ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}'' (1980). When Vultan decides to turn Prince Barin over to Ming, Barin demands a trial by combat under Article 17 of Ming's law. Instead of choosing to fight Vultan, Barin chooses Flash as his opponent.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* Creator/JimButcher likes this trope:
** In the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' series, there are at least two forms of this: the Marat have a different form of trial for each clan; the Gargant clan go by this method, calling it "Trial By Strength." Then there's the practice of ''juris macto'' among the Aleran people, which is a ritualized and legally binding form of DuelToTheDeath and covered on that page. [[CoolOldGuy Headman Doroga]] [[SarcasmMode has a few things to say]] about the "ritual" part.
*** It is worth noting that the phrase ''juris macto'' gets thrown around a lot, but is only actually invoked twice in six books. Just mentioning it usually hits the pugnacious like a bucket of cold water.
** ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' novel ''Literature/{{Changes}}'', the Harry and Susan are forced to fight one of these when they are pursued into [[spoiler: the Erlking's halls]] by vampires, and [[spoiler: the Erlking]] doesn't know who is right. Besides, he likes a good show. Harry later takes on Duchess Arianna, a severely badass vampire (one level down from and [[spoiler: aspiring to be]] the Lords of the Outer Night, {{Physical God}}s to a being. However by now Harry has [[TookALevelInBadass taken several levels in Badass]] wields Soulfire gifted by the Archangel Uriel and is [[spoiler: the Winter Knight]]. At the end Harry turns Arianna into a crater on the floor.
** At the end of ''Literature/WhiteNight'', when Harry and Ramirez challenge Vitto Malvora and Madrigal Raith to a duel. The challenge and duel are a long series of CrowningMomentOfAwesome, with a priceless CrowningMomentOfFunny with heavy applications of sarcasm from the White King of all people when Madrigal and Lady Cesarina Malvora try to duck the challenge.
* In the climax of ''[[Literature/DoraWilkSeries Winner Takes It All]]'', Dora undergoes one when she's (falsely, but that's unprovable) accused. She fights against her accuser, ArchangelRaphael, [[spoiler:and actually wins, only Raphael decids to stab her in the back when she's leaving the ring. She gets better, though.]]
* The climax of ''Literature/{{Ivanhoe}}'' culminates in trial-by-combat. Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe fights on behalf of Rebecca, the daughter of Isaac of York, who has been accused of witchcraft solely on the basis of her being Jewish, as thanks for her helping him when he was wounded. Wilfred's victory is seen as a sign from God that Rebecca is innocent... but of course, in the end she and her father are still exiled for the "crime" of being Jewish.
* Repeatedly used in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': Bronn against Ser Vardis over Tyrion's supposed murder of Jon Arryn; Oberyn Martell against Gregor Clegane over [[spoiler:Tyrion's supposed murder of Joffrey]]; and supposed to figure into [[SmugSnake Cersei's]] plan [[spoiler:to have Margaery Tyrell accused of adultery and forced to be championed by an incompetent member of the Kingsguard, which has rather backfired]]. The first two Dunk and Egg short stories also end in a trial by combat.
** One of ''Dunk and Egg''s trials by combat is a Trial of Seven, where the accused and six companions fight seven men chosen by the accuser, with the latter normally being among them. In this case, Dunk was the accused, and absolutely ''destroyed'' his accuser Aerion Targaryen by beating the stuffing out of him.
* Occurs in ''Literature/TheKnightsOfTheCross'' when Danusia gets kidnapped by UsefulNotes/TheTeutonicKnights, her father Jurand knows the exact culprits but won't accuse them, since she is being held hostage. When the order's emissary arrives, he feels insulted that anyone would accuse the knights when the victim's father doesn't and challenges anyone who would "slander" his brothers in arms to a DuelToTheDeath. Obviously, Zbyszko takes the challenge.
* Occurs in ''Literature/TheSongOfRoland'', when Thierry fights Pinabel to prove the guilt of Ganelon.
* ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars Chessmen of Mars]]'': Captives in the city of Manator must play a life-sized version of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetan Jetan]], with each taking of a piece being a duel to the death. Captives, criminals and slaves can win their freedom by winning enough games.
* The Whitecloaks in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' use this as a way of settling disputes when there is no evidence, though it has fallen out of practice by the time of the books. However, the lawful-minded Galad uses the tradition to challenge the Commander for the suspected murder of his mother, killing him and winning [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt command of the order]] as a side-bonus.
* Literature/HonorHarrington engages in 3 duels in the eponymous series. The first two were {{Curb Stomp Battle}}s, in which she only got wounded because her DirtyCoward of an opponent cheated. The third was specifically this trope, against the traitorous Steadholder Burdette. ''He'' didn't even get a chance to make a move before she took his head off. Interestingly, Manticoran law recognizes duels as a substitute for a civil trial. Therefore, the first duel technically counts as this for libel and battery.
* Used in one ''Literature/BrotherCadfael'' story to get rid of a murderer (and rival in love) against whom there was no real evidence.
* Such a system is in place in the KingArthur legendarium. Every knight knows that Guinevere is cheating on Arthur with Lancelot, but an accusation without any proof can only be made by challenging the queen's champion- Lancelot himself. Since he's an invincible knight, no one dares asperse her loyalty out loud.
* Being based on KingArthur and other medieval literature, the country of Arendia in ''Literature/TheBelgariad'' uses this system as well. It comes up in the second book when, because Garion is unable to prove that an ambassador is plotting to kill the king in order to foment war without naming his friend Lelldorin as a co-conspirator, the renowned and eminently honourable Mandorallan challenges the ambassador in order to prove his misdoings.
* In one of Creator/TeresaEdgerton's Literature/{{Celydonn}} stories, a villainess demands that the king's greatest knight fight for her as champion before she will consent to help his party. He explains that it's just a popular superstition that if you get the strongest knight, you win, that there is more in the combat. (She escapes before being brought to trial, making the matter moot.)
* In the ChivalricRomance ''The Earl Of Toulos'', the earl gallantly fights on behalf of his PeerlessLoveInterest against a MaliciousSlander that she was adulterous.
* In Creator/SusanDexter's ''The True Knight'', Titch fights for Gerein because his arm is broken, and wins him an exile instead of death.
* This is an old clan law that comes up in ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfAncientDarkness Wolf Brother]]'' when Torak is accused of stealing prey.
* In ''Literature/{{Updraft}}'', it's legally permissible to challenge the Singers, who are responsible for interpreting and enforcing law, in single combat. This can be done both by ordinary citizens and by Singers who disagree with their leaders' decisions. Combat takes the form of airborne duels using the [[ThoseMagnificentFlyingMachines hang-gliders-like wings commonly used for transport]].
* ''Literature/TheCrownerJohnMysteries'': This is an option available to the nobility in the period when the books are set. In ''Crowner's Quest'', John uses this to obtain JusticeByOtherLegalMeans by acting as champion to a 13 year old boy whose father had been murdered.
* ''Literature/TenSixtySixAndAllThat'' discusses this in the context of Henry II's legal reforms:
-->The Combat was a system by which in civil cases the litigants decided their dispute by mortal combat, after which the defeated party was allowed to fly the country. But Henry altered all this and declared that a Grand Jury must decide first what the parties were fighting about: a reform which naturally gave rise to grave discontent among the Barons, who believed in the Combat, the whole Combat and nothing but the Combat.
* This gets brought up multiple times in the ''Literature/{{Deverry}}'' novels, but only actually happens once. In that one, Rhodry serves as champion in the duel, as he had argued before the malover (court) that as Otho was 1: a dwarf, and as such had a substantially shorter reach than his human accuser, 2: very old, even by dwarven standards, and as such in much poorer health than his younger accuser, and 3: totally untrained in swordfighting, a trial by combat would be a one-sided farce rather than a divine demonstration of justice.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* In ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "The Omega Glory," Kirk fights Captain Tracey to prove to the Yangs that he (and not Tracey) is trying to help them (the Yangs believe that Good is stronger than Evil).
** In "Arena", he had to face an alien captain in order to determine which spaceship would be destroyed" by {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s who didn't like less advanced races bring their disputes into their territory. [[spoiler:In the end, Kirk "won" the fight, but by showing mercy to the Gorn who had been prepared to kill him, and by showing a willingness to settle the misunderstanding that had caused the conflict in the first place, Kirk convinced the aliens to spare ''both'' their ships. [[SecretTestOfCharacter Actually killing the Gorn, it's implied, would have doomed Kirk's own ship]].]]
* In the ''Series/{{V 1983}}'' episode "Trial By Combat", Diana and Lydia fight one to decide whether Lydia is guilty of killing Charles.
* ''Series/LoisAndClark'': [[Franchise/{{Superman}} Lord Kal-El]] became the ruler of New Krypton to prevent Lord Nor from doing so. Lord Nor charged Kal-El with treason and a KangarooCourt held under Kryptonian Law sentenced him to death. A few minutes later,, Nor drops the VillainBall hard enough to swing [[TheAtoner the main prosecutor]] to [[WhatHaveIDone Kal-El's side]]. Said prosecutor was only all too happy when it was pointed out to him that the defendant wasn't informed he had the right to invoke this trope - this means that Kal-El is OffOnATechnicality.
* In ''Series/LostGirl'', the Fae often settle things this way. The first episode has Bo forced into a two-step trial: first, she had to fight a hulking behemoth to the death; second, she had to overcome a creature's mental attack.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Bronn against Ser Vardis over Tyrion's supposed murder of Jon Arryn, ending in Tyrion's favor.
** Sandor Clegane against Beric Dondarrian over Sandor's murder of Mycah the butcher's boy. In spite of the fact Sandor is guilty, and the fact Beric wields a FlamingSword while Sandor is terrified of fire, Sandor wins and is released.
** The show faithfully recreates the novel's trial of Oberyn Martell against Gregor Clegane over [[spoiler:Tyrion's supposed murder of Joffrey. Although Tyrion is innocent, his champion Oberyn loses, so he's sentenced to death. Instead, he escapes.]]
** Subverted with Cersei and the Faith Militant. [[spoiler:They have Tommen abolish the practice so Robert Strong, unbeatable fighter that he is, won't be an option for her to escape her crimes. It doesn't work out when Cersei blows up half of King's Landing.]]
* In season 3 of ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', Oliver takes the place of [[spoiler: Thea]] as [[spoiler: Sara's killer]] when confronted by the League of Assassins and takes a trial by combat against Ra's Al Ghul himself. [[spoiler: Oliver doesn't last very long, but since it's Ra's Al Ghul, there's probably some sort of magical life-giving pit that could bring him back to life...]]
* In one episode of ''Series/{{Cadfael}}'', Cadfael and Hugh Beringer don't need to bring charges against the man who killed the VictimOfTheWeek because they met in combat (and the killer was unarmed, no less) to fight a duel, since the dead man was a bully who was betrothed to the killer's long-lost daughter. Perfectly sound and legal on the medieval Welsh border.
* In ''Series/TheFlash2014'', Gypsy attempts to arrest HR, but Cisco offers to be his champion in a trial by combat. Cisco wins, so she allows HR to go free.
* ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'' has the team infiltrate Nanda Parbat. Unfortunately, Sara, suffering from a temporal psychosis of sorts, gives them up to the assassins. Ra's Al Ghul sentences them to death. However, Rip, familiar with the League's rules, challenges Ra's to this trope. He miscalculates, unaware that Ra's can choose someone else to fight for him. Ra's chooses Sara, so Rip chooses Kendra. Fortunately, just before Sara can deliver the killing blow, she remembers Kendra and the team. Then the fortress is attacked by Chronos, and Ra's tells the Legends to clean up their own mess. After that, he tells Sara she's free to go. Sara tells him that he's going to have a second daughter at some point in the future and that, in 2012, he should send her to an island in North China Sea, creating a StableTimeLoop.

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* The Clans of ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' base their entire culture around this. The higherups made an edict your clan doesn't like? Then the result will most likely be a Trial of Refusal. There are Trials for all kinds of stuff, from the mundane Trial of Bloodright[[note]][[MeaningfulRename earning the right of using your ancestors' surname, considered a great honor]][[/note]] through the politically-motivated Trial of Absorption[[note]]the loser's clan gets assimilated into the winner's; only happened thrice so far[[/note]] to the more radical Trial of Annihilation.[[note]]The winner's clan gets the honor of completely wiping out another clan while the losers all turn the other way; only happened twice but both recipients (Clan Wolverine and Clan Smoke Jaguar) kinda deserved it[[/note]]. It should be noted that, by tradition, most duels are fought between HumongousMecha, though there are rare Trials fought between foot soldiers or fightercraft as well. The Clans instituted such a system in order to militarily resolve conflicts (being a ProudWarriorRace, military resolution was seen as an inevitable outcome) using a minimum of forces without it spilling over into full-blown civil war, though at least twice a Trial has resulted in a large-scale war between Clans regardless.
** In the video game adaption ''TabletopGame/MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries'', the eponymous mercs can choose to involve themselves in two further Clan trials: the Trial of Possession[[note]]basically, a sort of CombatByChampion over a piece of unclaimed land[[/note]], and the Trial of Position[[note]]the player can fight for the right to ''become a Clan member'' despite being from the Inner Sphere[[/note]].
** On the other hand, if you're [[CombatPragmatist not the dueling sort]], you can tell the Clan you're going through with the Trial of Possession, and then attack the night before.
* Trial by combat is still practiced in certain rural areas of the empire in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}''. ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasyRoleplay'' even has a class, the Judicial Champion, who represents the local courts.
* ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'': One method used by the Inquisition to determine whether a person is guilty is to pit them against a GreyKnight (a MagicKnight chapter of SpaceMarines). If the Knight wins, then clearly the GodEmperor struck down the infidel. If he somehow wins, he clearly used daemonic magics to do so and is killed (even if he didn't, there's the fact that he just killed a beyond-rare SuperSoldier).
* In [[TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}} Ascalon]], the [[TheEmpire Imperial League of Minotaurs]] (Krynn's very own [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Roman Empire]]) arbitrates ''everything'' this way. However, they were wise enough to realize that even this kind of trial needs rules. While even petty larceny must ultimately be arbitrated this way, only the really grave crimes require a DuelToTheDeath; minor crimes can be resolved by disarming or first blood. And for all except the ''really'' bad crimes (like assassinating the emperor), the accused may select a champion to fight in their stead, with evidence determining just how effective a champion one may select.

[[folder: Theatre ]]
* In ''Theatre/{{Lohengrin}}'', this is what kicks off the action. Elsa of Brabant is accused of murdering her brother Gottfried and the one doing the accusation is her EvilUncle Telramund, who goes to King Henry the Fowler to get her executed; however, the King decides to invoke this as an alternative. The one who replies to this call is the titular Lohengrin, the Swan Knight, who defeats Telramund in combat and gets Elsa released.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/KingdomsOfAmalurReckoning'' plays with this in the [[AncientGreece Teeth of Naros DLC]]. In the Kollossae debating forum, called the Lykeios, self-titled philosophers, experts on matters of morality, society, and theology, frequently debate with each other by stating their argument and then fighting a duel to see who's right. They do this because they believe that the gods will grant strength to the righteous, which makes for some interesting dialogue if you enter the ring with an argument like "Power and Morality are unrelated." Also, their battle commentary is ridiculous.
* In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'', Gorons won't let you into their mine until you defeat their leader in a sumo match.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'', [[UsefulNotes/RichardTheLionheart King Richard]] declares Trial by BossBattle when [[PlayerCharacter Altaïr]] accuses Robert de Sable of leading a massive conspiracy. At the end, Richard believes that God wanted Altaïr to win, and he must have been telling the truth; Altaïr takes the skeptical approach and tries to convince the king that he was just the superior fighter.
* In ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'', you have to sit through a mostly pointless trial by judge. Pointless because whichever way the judge rules, the losing party will invoke the right of Trial by Combat to give you a BossBattle. Although there are advantages to winning (you're legally exonerated for the crime for which you were framed), and losing (you basically admit that you did it). People react appropriately.
* This is how the Landsmeet is ultimately resolved in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. Regardless of how well you've curried favor with the nobility, you will still need to fight [[spoiler:Loghain]] in a duel to decide who will lead Ferelden against the Blight. Any one of your companions can fight in your stead if you don't want to do it [[spoiler:except Dog]], though choosing Alistair [[spoiler:will prevent you from being able to recruit Loghain, since Alistair will just FinishHim immediately]]. In addition, [[spoiler:having Alistair kill Loghain will remove the option of marrying him to Anora, since Anora isn't likely to marry her father's killer]].
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' has the Mantra Army court. You have to face down three judges to exonerate yourself from suspicion of being a Nihilo spy. First one is an Orthrus, then a Yaksini. Last judge to defeat is ''Thor''.
* In ''VideoGame/GemsOfWar'', the authorities in Whitehelm won't give Sapphira a proper trial (for whatever it is she's even accused of ó they were slow in saying), and she insists on trial by combat instead. The authorities undermine even this by insisting that it be in daylight (and [[WeakenedByTheLight she's a vampire]]).
* One ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'' Event, "Operation: Rathuum", is about one of these. A group of [[DefectorFromDecadence Grineer defectors]] have been captured, and stand trail in "Rathuum" ("TrialByCombat" in the Grineer ConLang). The match being so rigged in the favor of the executioners, Rathuum is more of [[KangarooCourt a fancy execution instead of a proper trial]]. Luckily for the accused the leader of Steel Meridian PMC (herself a particularly powerful Grineer [[DefectorFromDecadence deserter]]) has found a loophole which allows for the [[PlayerCharacter Tenno]] to participate in place of the deserters. In spite of the fights being rigged, [[OneManArmy the Tenno]], being the Space Ninjas that they are, win anyway.[[spoiler:Being a SoreLoser, the Grineer officer and judge declares a mistrial, accusing the Tenno of cheating, requiring the deserters be freed the old fashioned way by acquiring the coordinates of their prison and letting a syndicate loose on the guards.]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' has one such duel a minor plot point early in the ''Heavensward'' expansion. The fight is between two knights of the, well, [[TitleDrop Heavens' Ward]], and the accused -- Alphinaud, [[TookALevelInBadass who starts throwing spells around for the first time since his introduction]] and [[TheChick Tataru]], who names the player character as her champion.
* In the first story chapter of ''VideoGame/ForHonor'', Holden Cross of the Blackstone Legion is invading the stronghold of a traitor named Hervis Daubeny. After breaching the gate and killing a few soldiers who attacked him, Cross calls for the soldiers to stop and challenges Daubeny to trial by combat so no one else need suffer. Daubeny refuses to fight Cross, so he offers for Daubeny to fight his second. Daubeny [[GotVolunteered names the player character's Warden as his second,]] turning the battle into CombatByChampion.
* The orc tradition of ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' features a form of trial by combat known as the "Mak'gora", a sacred one-on-one duel. Mak'gora was adopted by all races of the Horde as well, the Tauren Carne Bloodhoof challenged the orc Garosh Hellscream to Mak'gora for leadership of the Horde. There are several rules regarding the Mak'gora. Each fighter must have a witness, each fighter can only use one weapon, and battles are to the death.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* In ''WebComic/DubiousCompany'', The [[ChurchMilitant Grand Wacinator]] demands the pirates choose a crew member to duel against Lieutenant Leeroy. Victory proves their innocence in [[TheChosenOne Future High Priestess]] Sal's kidnapping. [[spoiler: Given this is the church of the RandomNumberGod, it is a card duel.]]
-->[[BunnyEarsLawyer Walter]]: Aye. We choose Sal.
-->[[BloodKnight Tiren]]: What?
-->Grand Wacinator: Agreed.
-->[[StraightMan Tiren]]: What?!
* The very first story arc of ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' has Bob agreeing to take [[StarfishAliens Ahem's]] [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20060615.html place in a trial by combat against a giant monster.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' episode "Hercules And The Prometheus Affair", Hercules defies the gods and frees Prometheus from his imprisonment. After some consideration, the gods agree that Prometheus can keep his freedom if he can defeat the eagle that eats his liver in battle. Hades refers to the trial as a "Trial By Fire" and empowers the eagle with [[HotWings a flaming body and wings]]. Prometheus almost loses, but Hercules interferes and helps defeat the eagle. Although upset, the gods allow Prometheus to go free.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* This was used during the Medieval Era as a way to determine "God's Judgement", because (the thinking went) the winner would obviously have been chosen by God to win. Generally, it was easier than the one where you got thrown in the river to see if God wants you to survive. (The medieval Church repeatedly condemned both trial by combat and trial by ordeal as barbaric and un-Christian, notably at the Lateran Council of 1215. Both procedures continued nonetheless, though the bans contributed to the development of more familiar systems like trial by jury.)
** However, in some places, it often wasn't simply because of the justification of God picking the winner. In Germany, in particular, it was seen as an ancient right when justice couldn't be brought about by regular methods. This is because back in the day, even back in Roman times, chieftains, and, later, judges, had a very hard time determining people's guilt or innocence without eyewitnesses, so the result would often be OffOnATechnicality. Generally it never went as far as trial by combat, [[RapeIsASpecialKindofEvil but it often would in cases of rape]]. Because it helped prevent blood feuds, most places in central Europe tolerated it, although by the 15th century people were pushing heavily to replace it with trial by jury.
* In ''The Last Duel'' by Eric Jager, the author describes the last legally sanctioned ([[DuelToTheDeath Duels to the Death]] of course continued to the eighteenth century and beyond, but they were more an aristocratic version of a BarBrawl done with lethal weapons, then a legal practice) judicial duel in France during the hundred years war. A French noblewoman who was pregnant out of wedlock claimed that it was rape by her husband's [[FeudingFamilies enemy]] and her husband, believing her, stood in the lists as plaintiff. The accused stood as defendant. In something of a Zig Zag no one really believed it was an ideal means, the Church condemned it as TemptingFate and there hadn't been such an event in ages. It was only permitted by the French king because the law was still technically on the books because no one had bothered to take it off. And because there was no way to solve a rape case there being no DNA testing at the time. In other words it was permitted not because it was actually believed that God would automatically intervene for the right party but because no one could think of anything better to do and it ''was'' technically legal. In any case, as the title of the book [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin indicates]] it was the last one in France.
* Notably averted between Romans Octavian (aka Augustus) Caesar and Mark Antony. After Octavian's navy defeated Antony's at Actium, Antony holed up in the palace at Alexandria. He sent a messenger out to Octavian, challenging him to single combat to resolve the matter. Octavian was an excellent general, but no match for Mark Antony physically, so he had no reason to accept.
* Notch, creator of ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'', [[http://notch.tumblr.com/post/9038258448/hey-bethesda-lets-settle-this challenged Bethesda]] to a 3 vs 3 game of ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena'' to settle a legal dispute (referencing the above mentioned ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' series). Sadly, Bethesda chose to ignore this challenge.
* In a French legend, Aubry de Montdidier, a knight of King Charles V, was murdered by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Macaire Robert Macaire]]. The only witness was Montdidier's dog. In court the dog reacted violently to Macaire, leading the king to order a duel between Macaire and the dog. The dog won, and Macaire confessed to the murder and was hanged. The murder was said to take place in 1371.
* In 1817, Abraham Thornton, out of fear of facing a biased jury when charged with the rape and murder of Mary Ashford, challenged her brother (who was pressing charges) into that kind of trial. William Ashford knew he'd lose regardless of Thornton being guilty or not and it was officially ruled that, if he accepted and Thronton killed him, that death wouldn't be considered a murder. Ashford refused and Thornton was acquitted. However, Thornton was so ConvictedByPublicOpinion he moved from England to America.
* Pre-Christian Norse and Germanic societies commonly used duels as a means of settling matters to avoid the injured parties from turning a personal spat into a clan feud. In Norse society the variant explicitly used for arbitration was known as the ''hólmganga'' (so called because it usually took place on a 'holm', a small island to prevent the combatants from running away), and was fought until first blood or surrender.
* In 2015, a motion was made in the case of Luthmann v. Chusid requesting that the court order trial by combat to resolve the controversy, arguing that since such means were part of the English common law at the time of the American Revolution, and never banned by the New York state nor Federal legislatures, it remained within the purview of the New York Supreme Court to order such a trial. The Judge in the case issued a ruling in March of 2016 noting "this Court does not deny that such power resides within the Supreme Court", but nonetheless denying the request.