For more than four hours in the UK Supreme Court yesterday, there were references to complex European law, citations from 14th and 15th-century texts, and a quote from the Codex Iustinianus, dated 376 AD, all of which lawyers used in an effort save Julian Assange from extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault involving two women.
There were utterings in court in German, French and Latin as Assange's barrister, Dinah Rose, presented her case to six Lords and a Lady, all judges of the Court, that the arrest warrant under which Assange faces extradition is flawed.
The Court normally provides five judges for appeals, but decided on seven for the controversial Assange case "given the great public importance of the issue raised". They are expected to give a written verdict a few weeks after the hearing ends today.
This appeal is considered to be Assange's last stand against the extradition that has been upheld by one British court. If his appeal fails, he could get permission to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
But Ms Rose did everything she could yesterday to convince the judges that to send Assange to Sweden would be a great injustice.
Her delivery and responses to the Court were more polished and assured than those of Clare Montgomery, QC, who presented the Swedish case for only 30 minutes before the court was adjourned until today.
The Roman codex used by Rose to assist the Australian-born Assange, a one-time computer hacker and founder of WikiLeaks, says: "We decree by general law that no one ought to be his own judge or to administer justice in his own cause. For it is very unjust to give somebody permission to pass judgment in his own cause."
And that is the kernel of the defence that Ms Rose presented on behalf of Assange, who is fighting extradition on the basis that the European Arrest Warrant used by a Swedish prosecutor is invalid in law.
The prosecutor, Ms Rose told the Court, was not a "judicial authority" (a judge or someone with similar powers) within the meaning of the Extradition Act 2003 and therefore could not issue a valid warrant.
The prosecutor, she added, in her "adversarial relationship" with Assange, lacked the required impartiality and independence to be involved in issuing a warrant.
Ms Montgomery, who rejected Ms Rose's assertion that prosecutors could not be impartial in terms of issuing warrants because they were so involved in the cases, came under more intense questioning from the judges than Ms Rose.
Assange is accused of rape, sexual molestation and coercion involving two women, but there was no debate about the charges and the word "rape" was not mentioned. The appeal is about the legality of the extradition process, not about the allegations, which Assange strenuously denies.
There is, however, an agreed statement of facts before the court. They state that Assange visited Sweden to give a lecture in August 2010. He had sexual relations with two women. Both women went to the police, who treated their visits as the filing of complaints. Assange was interviewed by police and subsequently left Sweden in ignorance of the fact that a domestic arrest warrant had been issued for him.
Proceedings were brought in the Swedish courts in Assange's absence, although he was represented, in which a domestic warrant for his detention for interrogation was granted and upheld on appeal. Subsequently, a European Arrest Warrant for Assange was issued by the Swedish Prosecution Authority that set out allegations of four offences of unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape.
That warrant was certified by Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency under the Extradition Act 2003. Assange surrendered himself for arrest in Britain and, following an extradition hearing, his extradition to Sweden was ordered. The order was upheld on appeal to the Divisional Court.
Assange arrived in court early yesterday morning to cheers from anti-war protesters, who waited in the cold outside. He refused to speak on leaving court, but was again greeted with shouts of support as police escorted him to a taxi: "Good on yah," shouted one. "Well done, Julian," said another.
One woman invoked the name of the Lord and offered Assange blessings. He appeared not to hear her.