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Oidor (Spanish: listener) was the name of the judging members of the Real Audiencias or Chancillerías , judges' bodies that came into being in the Kingdom of Castile and were among the highest organs of justice in imperial Spain in the New World .

The name comes from the task of listening to the parties to the dispute in court proceedings, especially during the fase de alegatos (phase of the accusation or taking of evidence ). Oidores were Letrados , those jurisprudence had studied at a university. Oidores asked for the cases prepared by Relatores (party representatives, lawyers) to be presented.

Origin of the office

Originally the task of administering justice was the sole responsibility of the king and was carried out by him personally. At the court of Alcalá ( Cortes de Alcalá ) it was decided in 1348 that at least once a week a public meeting had to take place in which the asesores , the representatives of the royal power, meet and judge on his behalf. The Oidores formed in this context a new body, the Audiencia , which was entrusted by the king with the administration of justice.

Spanish colonies

In the Spanish colonies in America, the Oidores were entrusted with the same tasks and assignments as in Spain. They also had other sovereign tasks. The Oidores de las Audiencias not only acted as judges of the Audiencia, but also had tasks as Juez de la Santa Cruzada (military judge), Juez de Censos (judge in tax law matters ), Juez de Bienes de difuntos ( inheritor , literally "judge of goods of the deceased ") or Oidor Juez de Casados ( family court ).

In Mexico and Lima there was the office of the Alcalde del Crimen (criminal judge).

There were frequent impeachments of individual oidores.

In the event of the death or incapacity of a governor or viceroy, the eldest Oidor was temporarily acting governor, although he sat in the audiencia , which had to decide on the administration in the event of a dispute.

Pedro de Valdivia received the decision from an Oidor Juez de Casados (family judge ) that he had to leave his lover Inés de Suárez and turn back to his wife Marina Ortiz de Gaete.

Oidor Eclesiástico

Oidores eclesiásticos were clerics with canon law studies who decided on canon law matters at church courts, which at that time also included criminal cases against clerics.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Susan Kellogg Law and the Transformation of Aztec Culture, 1500-1700 , University of Oklahoma Press, 2005, 320 pp. 10