Court court

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In the Middle Ages and in the early modern period, the court court was the highest sovereign court. It functioned primarily as a civil court. Court courts existed at the courts of the secular and spiritual imperial princes as well as at the court of the emperor.

A very respected court court was in Rottweil , the court court Rottweil . It was established at the time when Rottweil was a Carolingian royal court, but, detached from it, continued into modern times. Formally, the Counts of Sulz were entrusted with the judicial office there.

Because the king and later also the princes were the highest judges of their subjects, they could set up their own courts. The court court thus entered into competition with the regional court of the free people (especially the nobility), who formed the judicial community of the country. Depending on how power was distributed between the estates and sovereigns, the regional court could be subordinate to the court court or both existed side by side.

A regional court set up by the sovereign in a manorial district, often on a castle , is also referred to as a “court court” .


Rottweil 's court court seal on a document from 1661
  • At first the court court was the place of jurisdiction for all persons belonging to the court, because the princely household was exempt from the regional court.
  • Creditors could have their debts collected. The court court could punish debtors and assign the debtor's property to the creditor. Some cities were also ostracized.
  • In many territories, the court court was the court of appeal for appeals from regional court processes.
  • The court court had a notarial function and notarized contracts of voluntary jurisdiction, such as wills, inheritance contracts, purchase contracts, exchange contracts and donations. Especially in the 14th and 15th centuries, the court court was highly regarded for its notarial function.

Like the kings of the Franks , the German emperors also exercised the highest judicial office due to them at their court. Here they chaired themselves or a representative appointed by them, while the members who pronounced the judgment were appointed from the respective area.

Imperial Court of Justice

The Imperial Court of Justice migrated with the Kaiser and had no fixed organizational form, even after Friedrich II created the office of permanent court judge with the establishment of the Royal Court Court in 1235 .

The imperial court was principally responsible for all disputes of the imperial directors that could not be called before a regional court.

The royal court could attract and decide any legal dispute from the lower courts. It was only restricted by the Privilegia de non evocando .

If the emperor was prevented or died, the imperial vicariate court took the place of the imperial court court. Since 1415 the chamber court formed by the emperor from court masters and councilors took the side of the imperial court. From 1450, the Chamber Court replaced this institution until the Reich Chamber Court was created in 1495.

The court court's verdicts always took place on Fridays, to the thunder of guns and the roll of drums.

Court court of Rottweil

Court seat from 1781 (copy) on Königsstrasse, original in the Rottweil City Museum
Rottweil City Museum, benchmark from 1688

The Imperial Court Court of Rottweil was the most important of the Imperial Regional Courts in the German southwest of the late Middle Ages and early modern times. Its name is derived from the royal court located in Rottweil, but does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about its constitutional legal position. The court was responsible for civil proceedings (eight and guidance) as well as matters of voluntary jurisdiction.

It exercised imperial jurisdiction in Swabia and beyond and was thus in competition with the developing territorial jurisdiction of the sovereigns. It was considered extremely friendly to Jews. Especially since the establishment of the Reich Chamber Court, the court court has been exposed to massive attacks by the imperial estates, who used the opportunity to appeal to the new court to interrupt processes at the court court and undermine the advantages of the Rottweiler process (lower costs, faster proceedings). Towards the end of the 16th century, its authority was permanently damaged, even if it was never formally revoked until the end of the Old Kingdom in 1806.

State court courts

These courts also only met when necessary. The reigning prince or a deputy appointed by him presided. Members of the court, princely councilors and other free people usually served as judges.

A firm organization did not come about until the 15th century, and in the 16th century the lordly court courts were perfected according to the model of the Reich Chamber Court.

In 1802, courts of appeal were established in Palatinate-Bavaria under the name of Hofgericht .


Web links

Wikisource: Zedler: Hof courts zu Rothweil  - sources and full texts