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Exemtion ( Latin eximere ' to take out' ) describes the establishment of a legal special position.

In legal language, an exception is the general exemption of certain persons, institutions or places from the judicial association (freedom of court) and the granting of a separate jurisdiction (Latin: privilegium [electionis] fori ) as well as the release from certain public burdens. This exemption was a reservation right of the emperor in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation .

In canon law , the term refers to the removal of spiritual persons or institutions from the general church organization.


In the Middle Ages , based on the Roman model, the nobility were exempt from various public burdens ( munera ), in particular from the obligation to tithe and from ordinary jurisdiction . The transfer of higher and lower jurisdiction meant freedom from royal power and the independent exercise of sovereign rights. It became the basis for the sovereignty of the imperial princes in the late Middle Ages. Similarly, in the area of ​​jurisdiction, there was church immunity .

Up to the present day certain persons with diplomatic immunity are exempt from state jurisdiction because of their supposed extraterritoriality .

Church organization law

In Catholic canon law , exemption is understood to mean the outsourcing of certain persons, institutions or places from the canonical jurisdiction of actually competent ecclesiastical superiors and their direct subordination to a higher authority, mostly the Pope. In legal history, a distinction is made between partial exemption (exemptio partialis) and complete exemption (exemptio totalis) from subordination to the jurisdiction of the regular next superior ( professor ).

Exemte dioceses, monasteries and orders

Dioceses not subordinate to a metropolis or an archbishopric, which are directly assigned to the Holy See in Rome as a higher instance, are also referred to as immediacy (Latin immediately "immediately").

In the Middle Ages , many dioceses, orders, universities and abbeys were exempted. The exemption was of particular importance for orders and monasteries , which through this status could obtain a certain legal independence vis-à-vis the respective local and regional church officials, mostly vis-à-vis the responsible diocesan bishop .


  • The exemption of the diocese of Pavia from the Metropolitan Union and the direct subordination to the Pope in the 7th century is the first historically tangible exemption in the Church of the West.
  • The first monasteries mentioned in connection with the exemption are the Colombian monastery Bobbio in northern Italy and Luxeuil in France. Both received this papal privilege as early as 628. It guaranteed them not only the freedom of bishops but also direct subordination to the Pope.
  • In Germany, the exemption can first be found at the Fulda Monastery . Boniface was able to obtain it from Pope Zacharias in 751 .
  • The Cluny Abbey was exemt already at its inception 910th Since then, especially in the era of the Gregorian reform , the exemption has also been awarded to entire monastery associations, and then in the 12th and 13th centuries even overall orders ( knights and mendicants ).

From the late Middle Ages, the exemption was increasingly viewed as an obstacle to attempts at reform and was clearly restricted at the Council of Trent .

The exemption was granted at the request of the Holy See by papal indult (grace). Often, however, such requests were not granted. For centuries , the Passau diocese sought in vain an exemption from the Salzburg archdiocese before it finally obtained exemption in 1722.

In the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1983 the exemption is hardly mentioned any more. However , it can endure under customary law and be regulated in diocesan law. Current exemte dioceses are often found in small states (with only one diocese) or politically disputed areas; today, for example, the archbishoprics of Luxembourg , Vaduz and Strasbourg and the dioceses of Metz , Gibraltar , Oslo etc. are exempt. Switzerland , in which all six dioceses are exempt, is a real exception .

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Exemtion duden.de, accessed on April 30, 2016
  2. Stefan Grathoff: Law in the Middle Ages ( Memento from May 31, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) regionalgeschichte.net, accessed on April 30, 2016
  3. Peter CA Schels: Immunity ( Memento of the original from April 30, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Small encyclopedia of the German Middle Ages, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / u01151612502.user.hosting-agency.de
  4. Helmut Kreicker: International Law Exemptions. Basics and limits of immunities under international law and their effects in criminal law. Berlin, 2007. ISBN 978-3-86113-868-6