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      Bad Cases and Worse Lawyers: Patterns of Legal Expertise in Medieval Portuguese Court Records, c. 1200–1400

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      Open Library of Humanities

      Open Library of Humanities

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          Abstract

          Fragmentary, complex and in short supply, medieval Portuguese court records have been largely overlooked by historians, with the result that the judicial and intellectual workings as well as the social dynamics of legal practice in medieval Portugal remain, for the most part, unknown. Drawing on various examples from several cathedral archives in Portugal and interweaving them with royal legislation and ius commune sources, this article contends that, far from merely conveying a disparate array of impressionistic and disconnected glimpses into legal practice, these records are evidence of patterns of legal expertise that can be reconstructed and analysed. It focuses on three such patterns in particular: the exploitation of Romano-canonical procedural law and its flaws; the appeal to the papal curia; and the recourse to authoritative legal counsel abroad. These constants of legal practice not only shaped the experience of the law and litigants’ awareness of legal mechanisms in a fundamental way, but also sparked serious social tensions and provided a rationale for the attempts of Portuguese kings, from the 1280s onwards, to exert a tighter control over the legal process.

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          Most cited references 23

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          A Little Known Version of Oldradus de Ponte’s consilium no. 83?

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              Die Anfänge des portugiesichen Königtums und seiner Landeskirche

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                11 June 2019
                2019
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, PT
                [2 ]Laboratoire de Médiévistique Occidentale de Paris, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, FR
                Article
                10.16995/olh.380
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                New approaches to late medieval court records

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