translated by F.R.P. Akehurst
Between 1279 and 1284, the jurist Philippe de Beaumanoir served as balilli - administrator of the region and its chief judge - for the County of Clermont. During his tenure, he compiled the "Coutumes de Beauvaisis". This work set down the customary law of Clermont in the Beauvais region as it was practiced and understood in the late 13th century. There are other such local custumals for France during this period, but they lack the clarity, comprehensiveness and sophistication that are the hallmarks of de Beaumanoir's work. F.R.P. Akehurst provides the first English translation of the complete text of the "Coutumes". Long regarded as one of the most important legal texts from the period 1100-1500 AD, it is often used as a reference for points of law not covered in other French manuals and codes. More than a mere compendium of customs, this work covers both procedural and substantive law. The "Coutumes" includes the facts, law and decisions in nearly 100 cases. Among its chapters are those on agency, arbitration, contracts, corporations, crime, dower, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, judicial combat, marital maintenance, novel disseisin, private wars, property and wills.