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Tomàs de Montagut
Pere Ripoll


Pactisme, legal pactism, pact-model, jurisdictio, senyoria, Medieval Monarchies, Corts Generals, Generalitat, Cort General de Montsó (1585), finances, legislative power, dual conception of political Community


This article offers a historiographic definition of ‘pactism’, i.e. the pact-based model institutional doctrine and practice held in Europe from the High-Middle Ages onwards, until the emergence of the modern concept of sovereignty in the absolutist state of the 16th and 17th centuries. As institutional doctrine, pactism found in Catalonia one of its most elaborate formulations. This article defines the constitutive elements of Catalan legal pactism, stemming from the Romanist concept of ius commune and the conceptual work on interpretation and early public law carried out by legal scholars. It distinguishes different kinds and degrees of jurisdictio (senyoria, in Catalan language)—universals, generals and speciales—and it defines populus, constitutio populi, imperium and contrafaccions. Catalan legal instruments related to the enactment of laws by the General Courts—Constitucions, Capítols i Actes de Cort—and the limited power of the King, the composition of Generalitat (the General of Catalonia), and the role of the three Catalan branches (braços, estaments) are also elucidated. It also delves into the procedure for establishing constitutions which was followed by the Cort General of Montsó of 1585. The 15th c. legal compilation called Llibre dels Quatre Senyals and the recent discovery of the Llibre dels Vuit Senyals allow a more accurate dating of origins (1289, 1291, 1359, 1376), and a better understanding of its financial objectives, procedures and protections. Finally, this article introduces the notion of a dual conception of the political community as a suitable interpretative thesis to make sense of the whole process of the development of public law in Medieval Catalonia.

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