The fuero was municipal or local law in Spain during medieval times and consisted of economic, social and political advantages or privileges for people, and applicable in a certain territory.
That is to say, the jurisdiction was a set of laws or powers granted to people, and that became effective in a locality.
To understand what fueros are, it is necessary to put the social and historical context in which they are born and develop.
After the disintegration of the Visigoths, different kingdoms were formed in Spain with a political organization different from that imposed by the Visigoths. For example, the kingdoms of Navarra or Castile.
The fueros were born and developed in a relevant way in the kingdom of Castile. Here arises a Castilian own right known as municipal jurisdiction. It derives from the Latin forum, which means “court or jurisdiction” and also “way of proceeding before that court.”
At first these fueros were particular to each municipality, but they evolved until the possibility of unifying all those fueros (sets of regulations and privileges) in one was reached. Even the monarchy granted the same municipal jurisdiction for several localities.
Both Fernando III and Alfonso X the wise tried to solve the legislative dispersion.
Characteristics of the fueros
The main characteristics that define the charters are:
- These charters were known as charters and it was a privileged right. All persons covered by the jurisdiction enjoyed certain advantages. For example, they could be immune from crimes, exempt from paying some taxes.
- It is a more primitive law, with more support in customary law.
- The privileges are a right that will also be distinguished by the normative dispersion; for being incomplete and for appearing in multiple standards.
- In the first centuries of the Middle Ages, with regard to the law that is manifested in the independent political units of the Christian territories, legal texts appear that are named as “jurisdiction”. This would mean that jurisdiction would be equivalent to the first legal manifestation of the Middle Ages.
Types of jurisdiction
The jurisdictions can be classified as:
- Short and long privileges.
- Local jurisdictions: When a jurisdiction was granted to a certain locality only for that place. That jurisdiction used to gather all the normative set by which that locality was governed
- Territorial jurisdiction: Its validity was projected to other localities close to the city of origin of that territorial jurisdiction.
- Agrarian privileges: Those known as population cards. They consisted of the considerations between the lord of the land and his subject.
- Fueros of privilege granted or by the king or by the count or owner of a stately territory (fief). They usually meet rules of public law.
It intended to unify all jurisdictions, there are different opinions if Alfonso X did it or not. That name (legal jurisdiction) receives the code of laws that brings together 4 books in its textual content. Its theme refers to:
The legal origin of this source is assured by the fact that, in its formation, the Castilian fueros were taken as a model. Its main characteristics are:
- It is written in Castilian romance and is immediately translated into Portuguese.
- Its purpose is included in the prologue, since it is established that it is promulgated to grant jurisdiction to those localities that lack their own jurisdiction or that jurisdiction had not been collected in writing.
- It is intended to end free will and bad judicial consultations.
- They must be applied in the courts of the kingdom, confirming their legal authority.