D. Heirbaut

Abstract

Due to a lack of sources, the makers of customary law in the middle ages are largely unknown to us. However, a unique source, the Lois des pers du castel de Lille, makes it possible to identify the spokesmen of customary law courts, who were the intellectual authors of these courts' judgements and, thus, the main creators of customary law. An analysis of their careers shows that they were legal advisers, lords and/or bailiffs and members or spokesmen of other courts. In short, they were their community's legal experts. They had learned their trade by doing and can be considered to have been semi-professionals. Certain spokesmen were more successful than others and served as a court's main spokesman, but it is hard to determine why someone became the main spokesman or spokesman at all, though knights had more 'natural' authority for acting as spokesman than others. In fact, although the spokesmen formed a community of legal experts in their area, two subgroups (the knights and the others) can be distinguished. The case studied in this article concerns the spokesmen of a Flemish castellany court around 1300, but spokesmen can be found in Flanders already in 1122 and they were common in North-western Europe. Therefore, this article concludes with a call for further research about these key figures of medieval customary law.

D. Heirbaut

Abstract

The 'Lois des pers dou Castel de Lille' is a very interesting source of medieval law, which has been neglected by historians, as it is a very chaotic document. However, several chronological layers can be distinguished and the oldest part, the bulk of the 'Lois de Lille', dates from 1283–1308 and is very rich in information not found in other sources. It expressly mentions the spokesmen of the Lille castelleny court, the intellectual authors of its judgements. In fact, the very first version of the 'Lois de Lille' were the notes taken by these spokesmen, with originally two separate sets because of the gulf between the knights and the other judges of the court. Thus, the 'Lois de Lille' prove that occasional law reporting was not that much younger on the continent than in England and it is to be wondered how many other texts which look like mere collections of legal rules hide case law and embryonic law reports.

Edited by S. DAUCHY, R. FEENSTRA, J.J. HALLEBEEK, D. HEIRBAUT, C.H. VAN RHEE, A.J.B. SIRKS, L. WAELKENS, A. WIJFFELS and L.C. WINKEL

Edited by S. DAUCHY, R. FEENSTRA, J.J. HALLEBEEK, D. HEIRBAUT, C.H. VAN RHEE, A.J.B. SIRKS, L. WAELKENS, A. WIJFFELS and L.C. WINKEL

Edited by S. DAUCHY, R. FEENSTRA, J.J. HALLEBEEK, D. HEIRBAUT, C.H. VAN RHEE, A.J.B. SIRKS, L. WAELKENS, A. WIJFFELS and L.C. WINKEL

Edited by S. DAUCHY, R. FEENSTRA, J.J. HALLEBEEK, D. HEIRBAUT, C.H. VAN RHEE, A.J.B. SIRKS, L. WAELKENS, A. WIJFFELS and L.C. WINKEL

Edited by S. DAUCHY, R. FEENSTRA, J.J. HALLEBEEK, D. HEIRBAUT, C.H. VAN RHEE, A.J.B. SIRKS, L WAELKENS, A. WIJFFELS and L.C. WINKEL

Editorial-board S. Dauchy, J. Hallebeek, D.G.M. Heirbaut, C.H. van Rhee, A.J.B. Sirks, L. Waelkens, A. Wijffels and L.C. Winkel

The Legal History Review, inspired by E.M. Meijers, is a peer-reviewed journal and was founded in 1918 by a number of Dutch jurists, who set out to stimulate scholarly interest in legal history in their own country and also to provide a centre for international cooperation in the subject. This has gradually been achieved through the years. The Review had already become one of the leading internationally known periodicals in the field before 1940. Since 1950 when it emerged under Belgo-Dutch editorship its position strengthened. Much attention is paid not only to the common foundations of the western legal tradition but also to the special, frequently divergent development of national law in the various countries belonging to, or influenced by it. Modern and contemporary, as well as ancient and medieval history is considered. Roman law and its later development, as well as canon law, have always been particularly important; in addition the history of the English Common Law has been extensively studied.

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