Judges and Notaries

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:
Judges and Notaries

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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The presiding officer of the consistory court of a bishop or lesser prelate was an ordinary judge usually styled the “official.” Prelates by definition possessed the right of “ordinary jurisdiction,” which is to say that they were the usual and customary judges of disputes or disciplinary infractions among the faithful who were subject to them. At the pinnacle of the church's hierarchy, the pope claimed ordinary jurisdiction over all Christians, although in practice he normally authorized the auditors of the Roman Rota, the Audientia litterarum contradictarum, and other papal tribunals to exercise it on his behalf. Similarly, archbishops, bishops, abbots, archdeacons, deans, and other lesser prelates routinely deputized officials and commissary judges to deal with most matters that fell under their jurisdiction.

Keywords: presiding officer; bishops; judges; prelates; church; pope; Roman Rota; papal tribunals; consistory court; ordinary jurisdiction

Chapter.  16372 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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