Lübeck Court Records

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Lübeck law has existed for a long time, had resisted Roman law and had a great influence in other cities regarding jurisprudence. Read about the history of Lübeck law in the following article:


Lübeck law was first heard of in 1188. It emerged as a city law all on its own and was not influenced by territorial law. In the year 1201 the first consules (Ratsmänner) were installed. This group of men overlooked  the legal and aministrative needs of the citizens. The consules were voted in for a lifetime and usually were merchants. They congregated 3 times a week and on one those days issued judgement. Such judgments were according to civil law and treated matters of  contracts, obligations, claims to inheritances and prenuptial agreements.  Lübeck law served also an appellant law well into the 17th century. Judgments were written down in city records (Lübecker Niederstadtbücher). Lübeck law had no jurisdiction over criminal law. The jugdements from the Rat, however, could not be neatly divided into arbitrations and verdcits as it became the case later.

The author Wilhelm Ebel documented the judgements of the Lübeck Rat in four volumes, beginning with the year 1421. The books have name registers and can be perused at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT, International floor. The call number is 943.51/L 4 P2e.