Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
The highest courts in France, the parlements hear on appeal civil cases involving more then fifty livres and criminal cases involving the death penalty. Prestigious persons may claim the right to be heard by a parlement in the first instance; the parlements serve as the Court of Peers. The parlements also register royal edicts and ordinances, giving them the force of law within the parlement’s jurisdiction; if the parlement does not register the edict, the king may compel registration by sitting in on the parlement session (lit de justice), at the risk of generating considerable ill-will in the case of unpopular edicts.
The Parlement de Paris, established in the thirteenth century, is the oldest and most important of the parlements of France. Provincial parlements, such as the Parlement d’ Aix, were created as new lands were added to the royal domain, partly to gain the allegiance of the local magnates and partly in deference to the differences in legal traditions between regions; for example, the laws of Provence and Languedoc reflect the strong influences of Aragonese and Roman jurisprudence.