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Wijffels, A. (Ed.) (1997). Case Law in the Making. The Techniques and Methods of Judicial Records and Law Reports. Vol. 1: Essays. Duncker & Humblot.
Wijffels, Alain. Case Law in the Making: The Techniques and Methods of Judicial Records and Law Reports. Vol. 1: Essays. Duncker & Humblot, 1997. Book.
Wijffels, A (ed.) (1997): Case Law in the Making: The Techniques and Methods of Judicial Records and Law Reports. Vol. 1: Essays, Duncker & Humblot, [online]


Case Law in the Making

The Techniques and Methods of Judicial Records and Law Reports. Vol. 1: Essays

Editors: Wijffels, Alain

Comparative Studies in Continental and Anglo-American Legal History, Vol. 17/1


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By the end of the middle ages and in early-modern Europe, judges in superior or central courts had risen to a prominent position in society and played a crucial role in legal developments. Whether in the Common Law system or in continental Europe, the courts' decisions became a focus for legal reasoning, forensic arguments and doctrine. Yet, it remains controversial to what extent these developments reflected the emergence of case-law in a modern sense. From a comparative perspective, it is also questionable whether, in spite of obvious institutional and procedural differences, the Common Law and the European Civil Law traditions produced a corpus of judge-made law which, if not by the way it was elaborated, at least by its results in the respective legal systems, played a similar role in the constant interaction between the various sources of law. The present volumes, which are a sequel to the volume "Judicial Records, Law Reports, and the Growth of Case Law" (J. H. Baker ed.), published in 1989, specifically consider the relationship between judicial records and law reports. The emphasis of the contributions is on the techniques applied by the authors of both records and reports. Records, whether in the Common Law tradition or in continental Europe, developed mainly in order to satisfy procedural requirements, whereas the authenticity of early reports did not meet the same standards as in modern times. Both these observations raise the question of the purpose of records and reports in the law-making process. Volume 1 contains essays discussing these questions in the Anglo-American tradition (Common Law, Equity, English Canon Law) and in various continental-European traditions (Italy, France, Germany, the Low Countries and the Roman Catholic Church). Volume 2 illustrates these essays by producing extensive samples of both records and reports in the systems reviewed in the first volume. Thus, the present publication offers the unique combination of scholarly texts which review the latest results of current legal-historical debates on the role of judges' decisions in medieval and early modern law, and, for the first time, a source-book of the courts' practices and the reporters' methods in a wide range of legal systems.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Preface 5
Contents 11
David Ibbetson and Alain Wijffels: Case Law in the Making: The Techniques and Methods of Judicial Records and Law Reports 13
I. Continental European Traditions 16
1. Legal authorities and judicial precedents 16
2. Technical prerequisites for the development of case law 20
3. Recording the practice and decisions of superior courts 22
4. Reporting the practice and decisions of superior courts 25
II. The English and American Traditions 28
1. Legal authorities and judicial precedents 28
2. Recording the practice and decisions of the superior courts 30
3. Reporting the practice and decisions of superior courts 31
Some Comparative Conclusions 33
Part One: English and American Traditions 37
J. H. Baker: The Common-Law Courts of Medieval England: Year Books and Plea Rolls 39
Introduction 39
I. Chaloner v. Moresle (1329) 43
II. R. v. Bury (1321) 45
III . Randolf v. Abbot of Hailes (1311) 47
IV. Fyloll v. Ashley (1520) 50
D. J. Ibbetson: Report and Record in Early-Modern Common Law 55
I. Introduction 55
II. The Record 55
III. The Reports 56
1. Reports prepared with a view to publication 58
2. Reports made on a regular basis throughout a lawyer’s career 59
3. Practitioners’ notebooks 60
4. Reports made by junior lawyers in preparation for practice at the bar 60
5. Students’ notebooks 62
IV. Report and Record in Legal Argument 63
V. An Illustrative Case 66
W. H. Bryson: Equity Reports and Records in Early-Modern England 69
I. The Court of Chancery 69
II. The Court of Exchequer 70
III. The Minor Courts of Equity 71
IV. The Records of the Courts of Equity 72
V. Reports of Equity Cases 74
1. 75
2. 76
R. H. Helmholz: Records and Reports: The English Ecclesiastical Courts 83
Introduction 83
The Records 85
Act books 85
Cause papers 90
Miscellaneous records 93
The Reports 93
W. H. Bryson: Virginia Law Reports and Records, 1776 - 1800 99
Downman v. Downman (1791) 103
Turner v. Wright (1794) 104
Pickett ν. Morris (1796) 105
Part Two: Continental European Traditions 109
Andrea Romano: La Regia Gran Corte del Regno di Sicilia 111
I. Curia Regis e magistri iusticiarii: la genesi del supremo tribunale del Regnum Siciliae 112
II. Strutture ed evoluzione del tribunale della Regia Gran Corte 120
III. I giudici 131
IV. Le procedure 136
V. Le sentenze: archivi e tecniche di registrazione 141
VI. Le decisiones della Regia Gran Corte e la loro auctoritas nel sistema giudiziario del Regno di Sicilia 145
VII. Vota e decisiones Magnae Regiae Curiae . Le raccolte siciliane edite e loro diffusione 155
Giancarlo Vallone: Corti feudali e poteri di giustizia nel Salento medievale 163
I. I tribunali feudali del Principe di Taranto e del Conte di Lecce 163
II. Il tribunale degli Orsini 171
M. Ascheri: La Rota della Repubblica di Siena nel secolo XVI 183
Bernadette Auzary-Schmaltz et Serge Dauchy: Le Parlement de Paris 199
I. Le Parlement de Paris: Cour souveraine du royaume de France 200
1. Les origines du Parlement de Paris 200
2. L’organisation du Parlement de Paris 202
3. Les fonctions du Parlement 205
4. Le Parlement et le pouvoir politique 207
5. Le Parlement de Paris et le droit 208
6. Le Parlement de Paris et les parlements de province 210
II. Les archives du Parlement de Paris 211
1. Présentation et description des sources 211
2. La finalité des registres 217
III. La reconstitution des dossiers 220
IV. Inventaires et instruments de recherche 221
Bernadette Auzary-Schmaltz: Les recueils d'arrêts privés au Moyen Age 225
Serge Dauchy: Les recueils privés de ‘jurisprudence’ aux Temps Modernes 237
I. Le Recueil d’arrêts notables de Georges Louet 238
II. Les sources et la méthode de travail des arrêtistes 241
III. La finalité des recueils privés d’arrêts 244
Jean Bart: Les archives judiciaires du Parlement de Dijon 249
I. Les chambres 249
II. Compétence des chambres et répartition des causes 252
III. Les ensembles documentaires 255
1. Les ‘plumitifs des audiences’ 256
2. Les ‘registres des audiences’ 259
3. Les ‘arrêts par écrit de commissaire’ 261
4. Les procès-verbaux 263
Michel Petitjean: Les recueils d’arrêts bourguignons 267
Importance des recueils d’arrêts 267
Auteurs... 269 Types 270
Fiabilité 271
Principaux recueils d’arrêts bourguignons 274
Filippo Ranieri: Entscheidungsfindung und Technik der Urteilsredaktion in der Tradition des deutschen Usus modernus: das Beispiel der Aktenrelationen am Reichskammergericht 277
Einleitung 277
I. 279
II. 284
III. 287
Alain Wijffels: Grand Conseil de Malines: La rédaction des sentences étendues et le recueil de jurisprudence de Guillaume de Grysperre 299
I. La rédaction de sentences étendues 299
1. L’absence d’une motivation juridique 300
2. L’objet des sentences étendues 302
3. La rédaction par le greffier 303
II. Le recueil de G. de Grysperre 304
1. Agencement général 305
2. Conception des articles 307
3. Matières traitées 308
4. Arguments juridiques et motivations 309
5. Recours à des précédents et développements jurisprudentiels 310
Conclusion 311
Annexe 312
J. Th. De Smidt et C. Verhas: Le Hoge Raad (La Haye), Cour Suprême de Hollande, Zélande et Frise Occidentale 317
Introduction 317
I. Les archives judiciaires 318
1. Juridiction contentieuse, civile 318
2. Juridiction gracieuse 326
3. Contentieux où intervient le procureur général 326
II. Les recueils de jurisprudence 327
1. Recueils imprimés 329
2. Les recueils manuscrits 336
Gero Dolezalek: Litigation at the Rota Romana, particularly around 1700 339
I. The Type of Judicial Matters Handled by Rota Judges 340
II. Main Personnel Creating the Records of Cases 343
III. Steps of Proceedings and Respective Records 347
1. The ‘commissio’ 347
2. Further proceedings before deliberation in Rota 349
3. The ‘dubium’ 351
4. The deliberation stage of proceedings 352
5. Further procedure: new hearing or judgment 357
IV. The Court Records 360
V. Pertinent Archival Holdings 363
1. Archivio della Sacra Romana Rota (now in the Archivio Segreto Vaticano) 363
2. Materials outside the Rota archives 365
VI. ‘Reports’? The Published Collections of ‘decisiones’ 366
VII. Authority of Precedents 373
Contributors 375