Legalität und Herrschaftskontrolle (1200-1600)
Eine vergleichende Studie zum Syndikatsprozess: Florenz, Kastilien und Valencia
Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte 256
Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann 2010. XIV, 446 p.
Was there in late medieval and early modern times anything comparable to “legality” or the “rule of law”? If we base the response to this question on the parameters of modern legal philosophy, then the answer has to be no. However, if we view the rule of law from a functional perspective and define it as a practical means of protecting citizens or subjects from arbitrary infringements by political and administrative powers, the answer might very well be different. Indeed, from the 13th century onward, within the sphere of influence of the ius commune, the conduct of public officials was thoroughly checked by making them undergo the so-called procedure of “syndication” (sindacato, juicio de residencia, taula de justicia). This procedure was automatically carried out at the end of the official’s term of office, and every citizen had the right to charge the official with misconduct – whether it be in hisown interest or in the interest of the whole community. The present study follows the history of syndication from its origins in the later Roman Empire to its re-introduction in the late Middle Ages to the early modern period. The differences between norm and actual practice as well as the political fights over the procedure, whose outcome was of crucial importance for the success or failure of legality and the rule of law, offer deep insights into the political and legal culture of the time.
The author is a Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Cologne.