Medieval legal procedure

Medieval legal procedure is a field of medieval law which has received relatively much attention. This is reflected also in the number of modern text editions. Here, attention focuses first on the episcopal courts since the 13th century, after the introduction of the officialis or official, the episcopal judge. On this page much space is devoted to Guillelmus Durandus, the author of an encyclopedic work on legal procedure. This page cannot do without a section on the inquisition. The section on the papal courts concentrates on the Rota Romana. At the end there is a list of modern editions.

Medieval legal procedure

From the eleventh century onwards canon law and Roman law both helped shaping medieval legal procedures at court. The following studies introduce you to and offer a guide into medieval legal procedure:

  • Bethmann-Hollweg, M.A. von, Der germanisch-romanische Civilprozeß im Mittelalter (3 vols., Bonn 1868-1874) – incomplete; part III,1 describes many texts on medieval procedure – online: vol. 4, vol. 5 and vol. 6
  • Salvioli, G., Storia della procedura civile e criminale (2 vols., Milano 1925-1927; Storia del diritto italiano…, III, 2) – reprint Frankfurt am Main-Florence 1969 – online, vol 1 and vol. 2
  • Nörr, K.W., ‘Päpstliche Dekretalen und römisch-kanonischer Zivilprozess’, in: Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte, W. Wilhelm (ed.) (Frankfurt am Main 1972) 53-65.
  • Nörr, K.W., ‘Die Literatur zum gemeinen Zivilprozeß’, in: Handbuch der Quellen und Literatur der neueren europäischen Privatrechtsgeschichte I, H. Coing (ed.) (Munich 1973) 383-397.
  • Caenegem, R.C. van, History of civil procedure (The Hague 1973; Intenational encyclopedia of comparative law, vol. 16.2).
  • Nörr, K.W., ‘Institutional foundations of the new jurisprudence’, in: Renaissance and renewal in the twelfth century, R.L. Benson and G. Constable (ed.) (Oxford, etc., 1982) 324-337.
  • Fowler-Magerl, L., Ordo judiciorum vel ordo judiciarius. Begriff und Literaturgattung (Frankfurt am Main 1984).
  • Vodola, Elizabeth, Excommunication in the Middle Ages (Berkeley, CA, 1986).
  • Fowler-Magerl, L., Ordines iudiciarii and libelli de ordine iudiciorum (from the Middle of the Twelfth to the end of the fifteenth century) (Turnhout 1994; Typologie des sources du moyen âge occidental, 63).
  • Brundage, James, Medieval canon law. An introduction (London-New York 1995) 120-153 – Chapter 5, “Canonical courts and procedure”.
  • Litewski, W., Der römisch-kanonische Zivilprozess nach den älteren ordines iudiciarii (2 vol., Krakau 1999).
  • Lepsius, Susanne, Vom Zweifeln zur Überzeugung. Der Zeugenbeweis im gelehrten Recht ausgehend von der Abhandlung des Bartolus von Sassoferrato (Frankfurt am Main 2003) – see also under Editions.
  • Mulholland, Maureen, and Brian Pullan (eds.), Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200-1700. The trial in history, I (Manchester-New York, 2003) – a volume with essays; online (PDF), OAPEN.
  • La diplomatica dei documenti giudiziari (dai placiti agli acta, secc. XII-XV). Atti del X Congresso Internazionale della Commission Internationale de Diplomatique, Giovanna Nicolaj (ed.) (Città del Vaticano 2004).
  • Arlinghaus, Franz-Jozef, et alii (ed.), Praxis der Gerichtsbarkeit in europäischen Städten des Spätmittelalters (Frankfurt am Main 2006).
  • Mausen, Yves, Veritas adiutor. La procédure du témoignage dans le droit savant et la pratique française (XIIe-XIVe siècles) (Milan 2006).
  • Clarke, Peter D. The interdict in the thirteenth century : a question of collective guilt (Oxford 2007).
  • Lepsius, Susanne, and Thomas Wetzstein (eds.), Als die Welt in die Akten kam. Prozeßschriftgut im europäischen Mittelalter (Frankfurt am Main 2008).
  • Schlinker, Steffen, Litis Contestatio. Eine Untersuchung über die Grundlagen des gelehrten Zivilprozesses in der Zeit vom 12. bis zum 19. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt am Main 2008).
  • Pedersen, Per, Legal procedure and practice in medieval Denmark (Leiden-Boston 2011).
  • Nörr, K.W., Romanisch-kanonisches Prozessrecht : Erkenntnisverfahren Erster Instanz in civilibus (Heidelberg 2012).
  • Nörr, K.W., Ein geschichtlicher Abriss des kontinentaleuropäischen Zivilprozesses in ausgewählten Kapiteln (Tübingen 2015).
  • The History of Courts and Procedure in Medieval Canon Law , Wilfried Hartmann and Kenneth Pennington (eds.) (Washington, D.C., 2016) – a new and indispensable volume in the series History of Medieval Canon Law.
  • Brasington, Bruce, Order in the court. Medieval legal procedural treatises in translation (Leiden-Boston, 2016) – contains translations of important texts from the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
  • Padovani, Andrea, Il processo romano-canonico classico. Linee di svolgimento e caratteri fondamentali (Rome 2024).

In the series Der Einfluss der Kanonistik auf die europäische Rechtskultur, Orazio Condorelli et alii (edd.) (5 vol., Cologne-Weimar-Vienna 2009-2016) three volumes deal with legal procedure.


Bishops in Northern Europe delegated their jurisdiction since the early 13th century to the official, an ecclesiastical judge. The following studies and editions merit attention:

  • Fournier, Paul, Les officialités au moyen âge. Etude sur l’organisation, la compétence et la procédure des tribunaux ecclésiastiques ordinaires en France de 1180 à 1328 (Paris 1880; reprint Aalen 1984) – online, Hathi Trust Digital Library.
  • Lefebvre-Teillard, Anne, Les officialités à la vieille du Concile de Trente (Paris 1973).
  • Paarhammer, Hans, Rechtsprechung und Verwaltung des Salzburger Offizialates: 1300 – 1569 (Vienna 1977).
  • Liber sentenciarum van de officialiteit van Brussel 1448-1459, Cyriel Vleeschouwers and Monique Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek (eds.) (2 vol., Brussels 1982-1983).
  • Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek, Monique, De officialiteit van Doornik : Oorsprong en vroege ontwikkeling (1192-1300) (Brussels 1985) – the diocese of Tournai offers a well studied early example.
  • Documenten uit de praktijk van de gedingbeslissende rechtspraak van de officialiteit van Doornik. Oorsprong en vroege ontwikkeling (1192-1200), Monique Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek (ed.) (Brussels 1985) – the companion volume with an edition of sources.
  • The records of the medieval ecclesiastical courts, Part I: The Continent, Charles Donahue jr. (ed.) (Berlin 1989) – on surviving records in archives, editions and literature for different dioceses; Part II is concerned with England (Berlin 1994).
  • Chapman, Colin R., Ecclesiastical courts, their officials and their records (Dursley 1992) – on English courts.
  • Compotus sigilliferi curie Tornacensis, 1429-1481 – Rekeningen van de officialiteit van Doornik, 1429-1481, Monique Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek (ed.) (3 vol., Brussels 1995) – a rich collection of accounts of the official at Tournai.
  • Registres de sentences de l’officialité de Cambrai, 1438-1453, Cyriel Vleeschouwers and Monique Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek (eds.) (2 vol., Brussels 1998).
  • Das Augsburger Offizialatsregister (1348-1352). Ein Dokument geistlicher Diözesangerichtsbarkeit, Christian Schwab (ed.) (Cologne 2001) – a rare example of a register from the Holy Roman Empire
  • Bulman, Jan K., The court book of Mende and the secular lordship of the bishop: Recollecting the past in thirteenth-century Gévaudan (Toronto 2008).
  • Twickel, Maximilian von, Das Bistum Münster und das Offizialat in Vechte (Münster 2014).
  • Beaulande-Barraud, Véronique, and Martine Charageat (eds.), Les officialités dans l’Europe médiévale et moderne: Des tribunaux pour une société chrétienne (Turnhout 2016).
  • Compotus sigilliferi curie Tornacensis (1483-1531). Le tribunal de l’officialité de Tournai et les comptes du scelleur, Monique Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek (ed.) (2 vol., Tournai-Louvain-la-Neuve 2016).

Especially in England research has been done into the working of diocesan courts. The following editions present important sources for the English practice of canon law:

  • Select cases from the ecclesiastical courts of the province of Canterbury, c. 1200-1301, N. Adams and Ch. Donahue jr. (ed.) (2 vol., London 1978-1979; Selden Society, 95-96).
  • Select cases on defamation to 1600, R.H. Helmholz (ed.) (London 1985; Selden Society, 101).
  • Lower Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in Late-Medieval England: The Courts of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln, 1336-1349, and the Deanery of Wisbech, 1458-1484, L.R. Poos (ed.) (Oxford 2001).
  • Select ecclesiastical cases from the king’s courts 1272-1307, David Mollom (ed.) (London 2009; Selden Society, 126).

One can search online in the records of some courts:

Some French archives have digitized relevant resources, for example fifteen registres de l’officialité de Troyes for the period 1390-1499 held at the Archives départementales de l’Aube. The French Geneawiki provides a useful overview of relevant collections with indications about (partial) digitisation.


The Speculum iuris, an encyclopedic treatise on legal procedure by Guillelmus Durandus (also Duranti) (circa 1235-1296) merits special attention. Durandus was born near Beziers in Southern France. He studied law in Bologna. Pope Clement V appointed him as auditor generalis of the Rota Romana. He attended the Second Council of Lyon in 1274. In 1286 he became bishop of Mende, after fulfilling several other high functions. Instead of mentioning more literature I refer to the online article by Frank Soetermeer on Durand in the BBKL (in German).

  • Falletti, L., v. “Guillaume Durand”, Dictionnaire de Droit Canonique 5 (Paris 1950) col. 1014-1075.
  • Boulet-Sautel, M., ‘Le “Princeps” de Guillaume Durand’, in: Etudes d’histoire de droit dediées à Gabriel Le Bras II (Paris 1965) 803-813.
  • Maffei, Domenico, La Donazione di Costantino nei giuristi medievali (Milano 1964) 96-98.
  • Boyle, Leonard, ‘The date of the commentary of William Duranti on the Constitutions of the Second Council of Lyon’, Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law 4 (1974) 39-47.
  • Kyer, C.I., ‘The legation of Cardinal Latinus and William Duranti’s ‘Speculum legatorum’’, BMCL 10 (1980) 56-62.
  • Zawilla, R.J., v. “Durand, Guillaume”, Dictionary of the Middle Ages 4 (New York 1984) 314-315.
  • Hayez, M. and H. Zapp, v. “Duranti(s) I. D., Guillelmus”, Lexikon des Mittelalters 3 (Munich-Zurich 1985) col. 1469-1470.
  • Aubert, Roger, v. “Guillaume Durant”, Dictionnaire d’Histoire et Géographie Ecclésiastiques XXII (Paris 1988) 891-892 – cf. ibidem XIV, 1169-1171.
  • Fasolt, Constantin, Council and hierarchy. The political thought of William Durant the younger (Cambridge, etc., 1991) 64-72.
  • Guillaume Durand, évêque de Mende (v. 1230-1296). Canoniste, liturgiste et homme politique, P.M. Gy (ed.) (Paris 1992).
  • Guillelmus Duranti, Rationale divinorum officiorum (I-IV), A. Davril and T.M. Thibodeau (eds.) (Turnhout 1995; Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Medievalis, CXL).
  • Colli, Vincenzo, ‘L’apografo dello Speculum iudiciale di Guillaume Durand’, Ius Commune 23 (1996) 271-280 – on an autograph manuscript of Durandus; PDF.
  • Nörr, Knut-Wolfgang, ‘Duranti berichtet aus der Praxis der Kurie’, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonistische Abteilung 86 (2000) 320-333.
  • Colli, Vincenzo, ‘Lo Speculum iudiciale di Guillaume Durand: codice d’autore ed edizione universitaria’, in: Juristische Buchproduktion im Mittelalter, Vincenzo Colli (ed.) (Frankfurt am Main 2005) 517-566.

The inquisition and the “inquisitio”

Through the centuries the inquisition has gained a dark reputation. Originally, however, the inquisitio was a legal procedure initiated by a court, instead of a procedure started by accusations of the plaintiff. The papal inquisition had yet to start. Unless armed with papal authority, inquisitors worked locally under the jurisdiction of the bishop. The Dominicans were not the first inquisitors, but they did often act in this role. Franciscans, too, acted as inquisitors. The inquisitorial method became notorious for its use in processes against heretics. Only in the fifteenth century the Spanish Inquisition came into existence. Two Dominicans, Heinrich Krämer and Jacob Sprenger, wrote in the late fifteenth century the Malleus maleficarum (1487) or “Witches Hammer”, a book that started a gruesome chapter in the history of the inquisition. Jean Duvernoy has compiled a rich list of sources on the inquisition in the Languedoc.

The University of Notre Dame offers an online overview of the history of the inquisitions with some essays and useful links.  A project at York led by Peter Biller focuses on seventeenth-century transcripts of medieval registers (Paris, BnF, mss. Doat 21-24), and lists also translations in English and French. The literature mentioned here focuses on the Dominicans and Southern France. Jean-Paul Rehr offers transcriptions and translations of the manuscript Toulouse BM 609 (online) and other sources at De heresi: Documents of the early medieval inquisition. The journal Cahiers de Fanjeaux with much attention to heresy in the Languedochas been digitized at the Persée portal.

  • Douais, Célestin, ‘Saint Raymund de Penafort et les hérétiques. Directoire à l’usage des inquisiteurs aragonais, 1242’, Le Moyen Age 12 (1899) 305-325.
  • Douais, Célestin (ed.), Documents pour servir à l’histoire de l’Inquisition dans le Languedoc (Paris 1900; reprint 1977) – online, Internet Archive.
  • Dondaine, A., ‘Le manuel de l’Inquisiteur (1230-1330)’, Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum 17 (1947) 85-194.
  • Mollat, Michel (ed. and transl.), Bernard Gui. Manuel de l’inquisiteur (Paris 1926, reprint 1964; Les classiques de l’histoire de France au moyen âge, 8-9).
  • Dossat, Yves, Les crises de l’Inquisition toulousaine (1233-1273) (Bordeaux 1959).
  • Maisonneuve, Henri, Etudes sur l’origine de l’Inquisition (2e éd., Paris 1960).
  • Le Credo, la morale et l’inquisition (Toulouse 1971; Cahiers de Fanjeaux, 6).
  • Sala Molins, Louis (ed.), Nicolau Eymerich et Francisco Peña. Le manuel des inquisiteurs (Paris-The Hague 1973; 2nd ed., Paris 2001).
  • Peters, Edward, Heresy and authority in medieval Europe. Documents in translation (Philadelphia, Penn., 1980).
  • Hamilton, Bernard, The medieval inquisition (London 1981).
  • Annette Pales-Gobillard (ed.), L’inquisiteur Geoffroy d’Ablis et les Cathares du comté de Foix (1308-1309) (Paris 1984) – online, Persée
  • Peters, Edward, Inquisition (Berkeley, CA, 1989).
  • Kolmer, Lothar, Ad capiendas vulpes. Die Ketzerbekämpfung in Südfrankreich in der ersten Hälfte des 13. Jahrhunderts und die Ausbildung des Inquisitionsverfahren (Bonn 1982).
  • Trusen, Winfried, ‘Der Inquisitionsprozess. Seine historische Grundlagen und frühen Formen’, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonistische Abteilung 74 (1988) 168-230.
  • Hanssler, Michael, Katharismus in Südfrankreich. Struktur der Sekte und inquisitorische Verfolgung in der zweiten Hälfte des 13. Jahrhunderts (Regensburg 1991).
  • Kieckhefer, Richard, ‘The office of inquisition and medieval heresy : the transition from personal to institutional inquisition’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 46 (1995) 36-61.
  • Processus Bernardi Delitiosi: The Trial of Fr. Bernard Délicieux, 3 September – 8 December 1319, Alan Friedlander (ed.) (Philadelphia, 1996).
  • Given, James B., Inquisition and medieval society. Power, discipline and resistence in Languedoc (Ithaca, N.Y-Londen 1997).
  • Friedlander, Alan, The hammer of the inquisitors : brother Bernard Délicieux and the struggle against the inquisition in fourteenth-century France (Leiden, etc., 2000).
  • Kéry, Lotte, ‘Inquisitio – denunciatio – exceptio. Möglichkeiten der Verfahrenseinleitung im Dekretalenrecht’, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonistische Abteilung 87 (2001) 226-268.
  • Heimann, Claudia, Nicolaus Eymerich (vor 1320-1399) – praedicator veridicus, inquisitor intrepidus, doctor egregius : Leben und Werk eines Inquisitors (Münster 2001).
  • Pegg, Mark Gregory, The corruption of angels. The great inquisition of 1245-1246 (Princeton-Oxford 2001) – on a major trial in Toulouse, an interesting but sometimes irritating book.
  • Le livre des sentences de l’inquisiteur Bernard Gui (1308-1323), Annette Pales-Gobillard (ed.) (2 vol., Paris 2002) – online vol. 1, vol 2, Persée; there is an online traduction.
  • Praedicatores, inquisitores : the Dominicans and the medieval inquisition, Carlo Longo (ed.) (Rome 2004).
  • Ragg, Sascha, Ketzer und Recht. Die weltliche Ketzergesetzgebung des Hochmittelalters unter dem Einfluß des römischen und kanonischen Rechts (Hannover 2006; MGH, Studien und Texte, 37).
  • Henricus Institoris and Jacobus Sprenger, Malleus maleficarum, Christopher S. Mackaey (ed. and transl.) (2 vol., Cambridge, etc., 2006).
  • Feuchter, Jörg, Ketzer, Konsuln und Büßer: die städtischen Eliten von Montauban vor dem Inquisitor Petrus Cellani (1236/1241) (Tübingen 2007).
  • Modestin, Georg (ed.), Quellen zur Geschichte der Waldenser in Straßburg (1400-1411) (Hannover 2007; MGH, Quellen zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, 22).
  • Modestin, Georg, Ketzer in der Stadt. Der Prozess gegen die Straßburger Waldenser von 1400 (Hannover 2007; MGH, Studien und Texte, 21).
  • Courtenay, William, and Karl Ubl, Gelehrte Gutachten und königliche Politik im Templerprozeß (Hannover 2010; MGH, Studien und Texte, 51) – this famous process touches the field of medieval inquisitions. too.
  • Peter Biller, Caterina Bruschi and Shelagh Sneddon (eds.), Inquisitors and Heretics in Thirteenth-Century Languedoc: Edition and Translation of Toulouse Inquistion Depositions (Leiden 2011).
  • Parmeggiani, Riccardo, I consilia procedurali per l’Inquisizione medievale (1235 – 1330) (Bologna 2011) – a study and repertory of legal advice concerning the medieval inquisition.
  • Parmeggiani, Riccardo (ed.), Explicatio super officio inquisitionis. Origini e sviluppi della manualistica inquisitoriale tra Due e Trecento (Rome 2012) – an edition of a mid-thirteenth manual for inquisitors.
  • Sherwood, Jessie, ‘The Inquisitor as Archivist, or Surprise, Fear, and Ruthless Efficiency in the Archives’, The American Archivist 75/1 (2012) 56-80 – online (PDF).
  • Bivolarov, Vasil, Inquisitioren-Handbücher: Papsturkunden und juristische Gutachten aus dem 13. Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden 2014; MGH, Studien und Texte, 56).
  • The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade. A sourcebook, Catherine Léglu, Rebecca Rist and Claire Taylor (eds.) (London 2014).
  • Bueno, Irene, Defining heresy. Inquisition, theology, and papal policy in the time of Jacques Fournier (Leiden 2015).
  • Sergi Grau Torras et alii (eds.), L’Herètica Pravitat a la Corona d’Aragó: documents sobre càtars, valdesos i altres heretges (1155-1324) (2 vol., Barcelona 2015) – online, vol. I en vol. II (PDF’s)
  • Arnold, John, and Peter Biller (transl.), Heresy and inquisition in France, 1200-1300. Selected sources (Manchester 2016).
  • Alexander Patschovsky, Ein kurialer Ketzerprozeß in Avignon (1354). Die Verurteilung der Franziskanerspiritualen Giovanni di Castiglione und Francesco d’Arquata (Wiesbaden 2018; MGH, Studien und Texte, 64).
  • A companion to heresy inqusitions, Donald Prudlo (ed.) (Leiden etc., 2019) – with chapters about the medieval forms of inquisition, the Iberian and Italian inquisitions.
  • Kras, Pawel, The system of the inquisition in medieval Europe (Bern 2021; online, OAPEN).
  • Biller, Peter and Lucy J. Sackville, Inquistion and knowledge, 1200-1700 (York 2022).

Since 1925 he University of Pennsylvania has in its library holdings the books and manuscripts collection of Henry Charles Lea (1825-1909), famous for his research on the medieval and Spanish inquisitions. Eighty manuscripts and Early Modern editions have been digitized; there are microfilms of a number of Vatican manuscripts and archival records from the Vatican, Venice and Milan.

Papal courts

Many publications on papal jurisdiction focus on the Rota Romana. Here a selection of literature:

  • Lea, Henry Charles (ed.), A formulary of the Papal Penitentiary in the thirteenth century (Philadelphia 1892) – online, Internet Archive
  • Tangl, Michael (ed.), Die päpstliche Kanzleiordnungen von 1200-1500 (Innsbruck 1894; reprint Aalen 1959) – online, Internet Archive
  • Göller, Emil, Die päpstliche Pönitentiarie von ihrem Ursprung bis zu ihrer Umgestaltung unter Pius V. (4 vols., Rome 1907-1911) – vol. 1, online Internet Archive.
  • Lefebvre, Charles (ed.), Antonii Augustini Praxis Rotae et Iacobi Emerix Tractatus seu Notitia Sacrae Rotae Romanae (Tournai-Paris, s.a. [1961]) – an edition and study of two treatises on the Rota Romana.
  • Lefebvre, Charles, ‘Rote Romaine’, Dictionnaire du Droit Canonique VII (Paris 1965) col. 742-771.
  • Herde, Peter Audientia litterarum contradictarum. Untersuchungen über die päpstlichen Justizbriefe und die päpstliche Delegationsgerichtbarkeit vom 13. bis zum Beginn des 16. Jahrhunderts (2 vols., Tübingen 1970)
  • Del Re, Niccolò, La Curia Romana (3rd ed., Rome 1970).
  • Puza, Richard, Res iudicata. Rechtskraft und fehlerhaftes Urteil in den Decisionen der römischen Rota (Graz 1973).
  • Dolezalek, Gero, ‘Rota’, in: Handwörterbuch zur deutschen Rechtsgeschichte IV, Adalbert Erler and Ekkehard Kaufmann (eds.) (Berlin 1989) col. 1148-1152.
  • Dolezalek, Gero, ‘Reports of the “Rota” (14th-19th centuries)’, in: Judicial records, law reports and the growth of case law, John H. Baker (ed.) (Berlin 1989) 67-99.
  • Hoberg, Hermann, Inventario dell’Archivio della Sacra romana Rota : (sec. 14 – 19), J. Metzler (ed.) (Città del Vaticano 1994; Collectanea Archivi Vaticani, 34).
  • Schwarz, Brigide, ‘Statuta sacri causarum apostolici palacii auditorum et notariorum : Eine neue Quelle zur Geschichte der Rota Romana im späten Mittelalter’, in: Studien zum 15. Jahrhundert, J. Helmrath (ed.) (2 vols., Munich 1994) 845-867.
  • Schmugge, Ludwig, Kirche, Kinder, Karrieren. Päpstliche Dispense von der unehelichen Geburt im Spätmittelalter (Zürich 1995).
  • Bukowska-Gorgoni, Christina, Causae polonae coram sacra romana rota : XV-XVII saec. : explanatio processuum et regesta documentorum (Rome 1995).
  • Gilomen, Hans-Jörg, Die Rotamanualien des Basler Konzils : Verzeichnis der in den Handschriften der Basler Universitätsbibliothek behandelten Rechtsfälle (Tübingen 1998).
  • Santangela Cordani, Angela, La giurisprudenza della Rota Romana nel secolo XIV (Milan 2001).
  • Ingesman, Per, Provisioner og processer: den romerske Rota og dens behandling af danske sager i middelalderen (Århus 2003) – on the Rota Romana and medieval Denmark.
  • Nörr, Knut Wolfgang, ‘Über die mittelalterliche Rota Romana’, ZRG KA 93 (2007) 220-245.
  • Risberg, Sara, Auctoritate papae : the Church Province of Uppsala and the Apostolic Penitentiary 1410-1526 (Stockholm 2008; Acta pontificum Suecica ; 2. Acta poenitentiariae).
  • Killerman, Stefan, Die Rota Romana. Wesen und Wirken des päpstlichen Gerichtshofes im Wandel der Zeit (Frankfurt am Main 2009).
  • Salonen, Kirsi, and Ludwig Schmugge, A Sip From the “Well of Grace”. Medieval Texts from the Apostolic Penitentiary (Washington, D.C., 2009).
  • Salonen, Kirsi, and Jussi Hanska, Entering a Clerical Career at the Roman Curia, 1458–1471 (Farnham 2013; 2nd ed., London 2016) – focusing on the Poenitentiaria and the Camera Apostolica.
  • Supplications from England and Wales in the registers of the Apostolic Penitentiary, 1410-1503, P.D. Clarke and P.N.R. Zutshi (eds.) (3 vol., Woodbridge, 2013-2015; Canterbury & York Society, 103-105).
  • Salonen, Kirsi, Papal justice in the late Middle Ages. The Sacra Romana Rota (London-New York 2016).
  • Flaiani, Enrico, Storia dell’Archivio della Rota romana (Città del Vaticano 2016).
  • Andrea Cicerchia, Andrea, Giuristi al servizio del papa. Il Tribunale dell’auditor Camerae nella giustizia pontificia di età moderna (Città del Vaticano 2016).
  • Arnaud Fossier, Le bureau des âmes. Écritures et pratiques administratives de la Pénitencerie apostolique (XIIIe-XIVe siècle) (Rome 2018; online).
  • Philipp Thomas Wollmann (ed.), Litterae der Apostolischen Pönitentiarie in partibus (1400–1500). Ein Beitrag zur kurialen Diplomatik (Wiesbaden 2021; MGH, Studien und Texte, 68).
  • Élizabeth Lusset and Clément Pieyre, La Pénitencerie apostolique sous Innocent VIII (1484-1492) (Rome 2024).

The databases at Repertoria Romana, a site of the Deutsches Historisches Institut, Rome enable you to search online not only in the Repertorium Germanicum, but also in the Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum which deals with the Poenitentiaria, one of the papal courts.

At the University of Marburg Andreas Meyer (1955-2017) worked on the edition of late medieval papal chancellery statutes. Recently appeared an edition by Dorett Elodie Werhahn-Piorkowski, Die Regule Cancellarie Innozenz’ VIII. und Alexanders VI. Überlieferungsgeschichte, Inkunabelkatalog und Edition der päpstlichen Kanzleiregeln im frühen Buchdruck (Wiesbaden 2021; MGH Schriften, 76). A formulary book from the late fourteenth century has been edited by Matthaüs Meyer, Die Pönitentiarie-Formularsammlung des Walter Murner von Strassburg (Freiburg 1979).

Some cases have been studied with much attention to canon law and deserve mentioning here:

  • Henry Ansgar Kelly, The matrimonial trials of Henry VIII (Stanford, CA, 1976) – with due attention to legal consultations by canon lawyers
  • Tilmann Schmidt, Der Bonifaz-Prozess : Verfahren der Papstanklage in der Zeit Bonifaz’ VIII. und Clemens’ V (Cologne-Vienna, 1989) – this trial against a pope has never been formally concluded; see also Boniface VIII en procès. Articles d’accusation et dépositions des témoins (1303-1311), Jean Coste en André Vauchez (eds.) (Rome 1995)
  • Thomas Fudge, The trial of Jan Hus. Medieval heresy and criminal procedure (Oxford, etc., 2013) – building on the pioneer study by Jiri Kejr, Husuv proces (Prague, 2000)
  • The spoils of the popes and the pirates, 1357-: The complete dossier from the Vatican archives, Daniel Williman and Karen Ann Corsano (eds.) (Cambridge, MA, 2014) – an online edition (PDF) for the Ames Foundation of a fascinating case; the second edition, The Right of Spoil of the Popes of Avignon, 1316–1415 (2020) looks also more generally at spoliation cases
  • Processus contra Templarios in Francia. Procès-verbaux de la procédure menée par la commission pontificale à Paris (1309-1311), Magdalena Satora (ed.) (2 vol., Leiden-Boston 2020)


The following Early Modern editions of texts are available in reprints:

  • Guillelmus Durandus, Speculum iuris (2 vols., Basileae: Episcopius, 1574) – reprint Aalen 1975.
  • Roffredus Beneventanus, Libellus actionum [Super utraque censura cum questionibus sabbatinis] (Avenione 1500) – reprint Turin 1968.

Modern editions:

  • Wunderlich, A. (ed.), Anecdota quae processum civilem spectant (Göttingen 1841) – online, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.
  • Pillius, Tancredus, Gratia Libri de iudiciorum ordine, F.C. Bergmann (ed.) (Göttingen 1842; reprint Aalen 1965) – online, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.
  • Gross, C. (ed.), Incerti auctoris Ordo judiciarius, pars summae legum et Tractatus de praescriptione (Innsbruck 1870)  – online, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.
  • Quellen zur Geschichte des römisch-kanonischen Processes im Mittelalter, Ludwig Wahrmund (ed.) (5 vols., Innsbruck-Heidelberg 1905-1931; reprint Aalen 1962) – online, Université Fribourg
  • Rossi, G., La Summa arboris actionum di Ponzio da Ylerda (Milano 1951).
  • Logan, Donald (ed.), ‘An early thirteenth-century judge-delegate formulary of English origin’, Studia Gratiana 14 (1967) 73-87.
  • Weimar, Peter (ed.), ‘Tractatus de violento possessore Cum uarie multiplicesque a Pilio Medicinensi compositus’, Ius Commune 1 (1967) 61-103; online, PDF.
  • Maria Teresa Napoli (ed.), ‘L’Ordo iudiciarius ‘Quia utilissimum fore’. Contributo alla conoscenza delle fonti del processo romano-canonico’, ZRG K.A. 62 (1976) 58-105.
  • R.M. Fraher (ed.), ‘Tancred’s ‘Summula de criminibus’: A new text and a key to the ‘Ordo iudiciarius’, Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law n.s. 9 (1979) 23-36.
  • Höhne, H. (ed.), ‘Pillii Medicinensis Summula de reorum exceptionibus’, Ius Commune 9 (1980) 139-210; online (PDF).
  • El ordo iudiciarius “Ad summariam noticiam” y sus derivados : contribución al estudio de la literatura procesal castellana, Antonio Pérez Martin (ed.), in: Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla 8 (1982) 195-266, 10 (1984) 327-423.
  • Sorrenti, Lucia, Tra scuole e prassi giudiziarie. Giuliano da Sesso e il suo “Libellus quaestionum” (Rome 1999).
  • Ordo iudiciarius Sapientiam affectant omnes– edited by E.C. Coppens, Nijmegen, downloadable in PDF-form , also in : Voortschrijdend procesrecht. Een historische verkenning, C.H. van Rhee, F. Stevens and E. Persoons (eds.) (Louvain 2001).
  • Lepsius, Susanne, Die Richter und die Zeugen. Eine Studie anhand des Tractatus testimoniorum des Bartolus von Sassoferrato (Frankfurt am Main 2003) – study and text edition.
  • Dominik Budský, Mikuláš Puchnik. Zivot a právnícke dílo (Prague 2016) – study and edition of the fourteenth-century Processus iudiciarius secundum stilum Pragense
  • Ordo iudiciarus Antequam, Heino Speer, Klagenfurt – editions and medieval translations – see also the earlier edition by O. Riedner, Die geistliche Gerichtshöfe zu Speier im Mittelalter II (Paderborn 1915) 5-48.
  • Iudicium est actus trium personarum, Sarah B. White (transcr.) , 2018- a transcription of the unique textual witnes of a thirteenth-century text (Oxford, St. John’s College, ms. 178).
  • Summula de presumptonibus, David de Concilio (transcr.), 2019 – a transcription from a thirteenth-century manuscript (Vatican, City, BAV, ms. Pal. lat. 653)
  • L'”ordinaire mestre Tancré”. Premier manuel de procédure en  français, Frédéric Duval (ed.) (Paris 2023) –  a mid-thriteenth-century translation of the ordo iudiciarius by Tancred