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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Holy Roman Empire had no written constitution, but only some basic laws. Seven prince-electors elected the emperor but the political power shifted increasingly to the territories with their secular or ecclesiastical rulers. The empire passed only a few formal laws; however, the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina (1532) became one of the most important criminal codes of early modern Europe. In general, there was a mixture of ius commune, territorial statutes, and local customs. On the other hand, a well-developed court system with the Imperial Chamber Court and the Imperial Aulic Council symbolized the status of Germany as a formal country of rule of law. The harmonization of courts via the privilegia de non appellando and the harmonization of law due to the transmission of files contributed to a relatively homogeneous region of German law even if the political power was split between territories of vastly differing sizes.

Keywords: Holy Roman Empire, Imperial Chamber Court, Imperial Aulic Council, Constitutio Criminalis Carolina, statutory law, transmission of files, Wismar, Celle, territories, fundata intentio

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