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'Zur Abkurtzung unnötiger Processualweitläufigkeiten', Een bijdrage over de geschiedenis van het Hof van Appel te Thorn 1718–1795

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image of Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review

Until the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, the constitutional status of the former kaiserlich freie Reichsstift Thorn in the present Dutch province of Limburg was disputed. After the Emperor Charles VI had established its constitutional position as a member of the Holy Roman Empire in 1718, a Court of Appeal was established to symbolise Thorn's sovereignty and serve as an intermediary court between the local lower jurisdictions and the Reichskammergericht and the Reichshofrat. The organisation and jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal were laid down in ordinances by the sovereign abbess Francisca Christina of Paltz-Sulzbach (1717–1776). Since the Court's judges did not reside in Thorn – they lived predominantly in the free imperial town of Aachen – complaints about undue delay in civil proceedings and the high cost involved urged the sovereign abbess to directly intervene in the Court's jurisdiction. The ensuing conflicts negatively affected the Court's credibility, as is evidenced by the number of revision petitions and appeals lodged with the Reichskammergericht from ca. 1775 onwards. Reform efforts undertaken by the sovereign abbess Maria Cunegonda of Saxony (1776–1795) arrived too late to restore the credibility and authority of the Court of Appeal.


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