The John Doe custom was born out of a strange and long since vanished British legal process called an action of ejectment. Under old English common law, the actions landowners could take against squatters or defaulting tenants in court were often too technical and difficult to be of any use. So landlords would instead bring an action of ejectment on behalf of a fictitious tenant against another fictitious person who had allegedly evicted or ousted him.
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Secondly, such names are also often used to refer to a hypothetical " everyman " in other contexts, in a manner similar to " John Q. Public " or "Joe Public". In other English-speaking countries , unique placeholder names, numbers or codenames have become more often used in the context of police investigations. However, the legal term John Doe injunction or John Doe order  has survived in English law and other legal systems influenced by it. Other names such as " Joe Bloggs " or " John Smith " have sometimes been informally used as placeholders for an everyman in the UK, Australia and New Zealand ; such names are seldom used in legal or police circles in the same sense as John Doe. Under the legal terminology of Ancient Rome , the names " Numerius Negidius " and " Aulus Agerius " were used in relation to hypothetical defendants and plaintiffs. The name "John Doe" or "John Doo" , "Richard Roe", along with "John Roe", were regularly invoked in English legal instruments to satisfy technical requirements governing standing and jurisdiction, beginning perhaps as early as the reign of England's King Edward III — Their fee-faw-fum's an ancient plan To smell the purse of an Englishman, And, 'ecod, they'll suck it all they can, John Doe and Richard Roe
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