The Vlach law refers to various special laws and privileges enforced upon pastoralist communities in Europe in the Late Middle Ages and Early modern period. The term "Vlachs" originally denoted Romance-speaking populations, primarily concerned with pastoralism; the term became synonymous with "shepherds". The concept originates in the laws enforced on Vlachs in the medieval Balkans. In medieval Serbian charters, the pastoral community, primarily made up of Vlachs, were held under special laws due to their nomadic lifestyle. In late medieval Croatian documents Vlachs were held by special law in which "those in villages" pay tax and "those without villages" (nomads) serve as cavalry.
In the Habsburg Monarchy, in 1630, the Vlach Statutes (Latin: Statuta Valachorum) were enacted which defined the tenancy rights and taxation of Orthodox refugees in the Military Frontier; land were granted in return for military service. In the 16th and 17th centuries Slavic pastoral communities (such as Gorals) under the Vlach law were settled in the northern Kingdom of Hungary. The colonization of peoples under the Vlach law resulted in ethnic enclaves of Czechs, Poles and Ruthenians in historical Hungary.
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