Attaining Professional Status

in The Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226077598
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226077611 | DOI:
Attaining Professional Status

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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Advocates and proctors began to become more visible in the records of the Western Church around the middle of the thirteenth century than they previously had been. The transition of lawyers from quasi-professional to full-fledged professional status occurred unevenly in different regions. It began in the French kingdom, the Anglo-Norman realm, and Sicily, then spread gradually to other areas. The change generally proceeded at a brisker pace in regions where universities flourished than it did elsewhere. From around 1250, professional canonists appear regularly in the records of church courts in many regions of western Europe. It also became increasingly common for judges in ecclesiastical tribunals to hold university law degrees. So too did a good many of the advocates who appeared before them. By the beginning of the fourteenth century, men in these posts generally held university degrees, and their degrees, more often than not, were in law. Legal practitioners who acted on behalf of others in church courts had always needed to persuade the presiding judge to grant them permission to be heard.

Keywords: advocates; proctors; professional status; Sicily; universities; church courts; judges; Europe; lawyers

Chapter.  28317 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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