Viguerie

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In France, a viguerie (French pronunciation: ​[viɡəʁi]; Latin: vicaria) was a mediaeval administrative court. A viguerie is named for the place it serves or is found in, that is, the main town of the borough, which need not be its chef-lieu (administrative capital).

Appearing during the Carolingian dynasty, the viguerie started as the seat of civil and criminal justice, taking its name from the Count or Viscount. With the decline of feudal power and its transfer to Royal jurisdiction, the viguerie became the lowest court, dealing only with day-to-day affairs. It was administered by a viguier, a judge whose remit varied, over time and space, from that of a judge of a Court of Assize to that of a judge of a Court of Common Pleas.

Vigueries largely disappeared after 1749, following an edict suppressing the lower courts. Even so, in many regions such as Provence, they survived until the French Revolution. In Languedoc, Rouergue and Carladez, they transformed into the lowest Courts of Appeal.

In other regions similar courts were called châtellenie, prévôté, vicomté, baillage or sénéchaussée.

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