In this paper I want to look at four approaches to deciding a case in different societies-contemporary England, uncodified civil or 'mixed' law systems (with an example from 17th century Scot-land and another from early 20th century South Africa), 19th century France after codification, 15th century Germany with a glance at 13th and 14th century Spain-where the attempt is made each time to reach the correct decision by applying the mental process thought most appropriate. None of the approaches examined here is result-oriented, and to outsiders, especially to lawyers brought up in a different legal culture, the mental process seems artificial, even absurd, but not to those involved in the game. The approach in each case is not atypical for the particular legal culture, but I have tried to find striking examples.