Magdeburg rights

The Magdeburg law is a form of municipal law, which has its origin in the city of Magdeburg, and from there developed from significant impact on the municipal law in East Central Europe and Eastern Europe, often in his Silesian and Polish variant, the Neumarkt law, or the northern variant, the Kulm law, which spread over the whole of West and East Prussia.

The general municipal law has its roots in the common law of merchants, in the privileges conferred by the landlords and the respective community itself adopted rules ( " arbitrary "). Within the city was guaranteed to citizens by the municipal law of personal liberty, the right to property, the integrity of life and limb and the regulated economic activity.

  • 3.1 spread in Eastern Europe
  • 4.1 The importance of the Magdeburg law for the Jewish population
  • 4.2 Meaning of the Magdeburg Aldermen chair and aldermen sayings for cities Magdeburg law

Beginnings of Magdeburg law

The first written source for the existence of the Magdeburg law is the privilege of the Archbishop Wichmann 1188, by which the municipal court procedure should be simplified. Such a change is already existing city charter in Magdeburg logically requires. 1294 bought the citizens of Magdeburg, the Archbishop, the offices of the mayor and Viscount from and they could thus occupy themselves. Although the archbishop remained formally court Lord, but because he could compose the Board only with the specific of the city people, the jurisdiction was practically in urban hand. In the same year, the division of tasks between the Council and lay assessors trained in the Aldermen chair ( Schoepp chair) was in charge of the case-law, while the Council was responsible for administration and legislation. From this point one can speak of the Magdeburg Law as " Magdeburg law " in the sense of independent self-government of the city.

Provisions of Magdeburg law

Special features of the Procedure

A major innovation of the Magdeburg law was to eliminate the so-called " process risk " right in the first paragraph, has now been ruled out by the that a process was lost solely due to incorrect choice of words in the process. This change boosted confidence in the court and established a greater legal certainty. In by traveling merchants came the so-called " hospitality " is used, which determined that in these cases the issue should be resolved by the court within a day. This control of the process method shows very clearly that there is a merchant right at the Magdeburg law substantially.

Kaufmann law

In the region of merchant law, the Magdeburg Law regulated business law issues such as liability for the goods, the accountability of the merchants, who ordered books and records, issues of shareholder capital and fiduciary activity.

Matrimonial property and inheritance

The basic rule was according to Magdeburg law the husband as guardian of his wife. Today it is assumed that although there was a separation of property, but the husband managed the assets of the woman. Despite her husband's guardianship, the independent occurrence of the woman was provided as a legal person in court.


Important provisions in the criminal law of the Magdeburg rights the abolition of collective punishment can be considered, so that with assault and manslaughter (see homicide ) only the perpetrator and not his family can be held accountable for the upgrading of the procedural law of discovery and of witness evidence in court in Unlike blood revenge, and God's judgment and the lifting of the statute of limitations for crimes of violence.


With the verdict of the so -called " Schoepp chair " was involved in Magdeburg, which consisted usually of eleven jurors who were entrusted with the office for life and were able to determine their own successors. From 1336 a simultaneous membership in the charge of the case law Aldermen and the relevant legislation for the Council in Magdeburg was prohibited. Besides its function as a Court of Magdeburg the Aldermen chair was also very important in the legal interpretation of other cities that had been formed after the Magdeburg law.

Propagation of the Magdeburg law

Even after 1160, even before the formation of the Magdeburg law as a law of the total city self-government, Stendal receives the Magdeburg Law zugewidmet. The Magdeburg Law was granted in consequence many cities in the " Neusiedelgebiet " newly established by the respective town masters and worked in some cases even in the areas west of Magdeburg (now Niedersachsen) into it. But above all, it spread in the wake of the settlement movement eastward from Mark Brandenburg, isolated in Pomerania, Prussia, Thuringia, Saxony, Silesia, Bohemia, Moravia and Lusatia.

Spread in Eastern Europe

The remarkable spread of the Magdeburg Right to Eastern Europe went hand in hand with the spread of the Sachsenspiegel as a source of land rights in Eastern Europe. If the sources themselves speak of German law, is hereby becoming the Magdeburg rights meant that must always be considered in conjunction with the Mirror of Saxony. Inspired by the use in some sources called it the previous research as ius Teutonicum or German right now seems, however, the term " Saxon- magdeburgisches right " to have prevailed. With the proliferation in Eastern Europe, the Mirror of Saxony was translated into Latin ( ver Vratislaviensis 1272-1292 ) and also adapted to circumstances ( Livländischer mirror mid 14th century ). Cities who received Magdeburg rights are, for example, Vilnius and Kaunas ( 1408 ) in Lithuania, Kiev ( 1492-1497 ) or Minsk. In Kiev, a monument to the Magdeburg law exists.

Meaning the Magdeburg law

Meaning the Magdeburg law for the Jewish population

The Magdeburg Law was not for the Jews, because it was not generally regarded as part of the original urban population. As an exception may be cited the Lithuanian city of Trakai, where the Jewish population Magdeburg Law was granted in 1444 as an independent group, while it had already been zugewidmet the Christian population before.

Meaning the Magdeburg Aldermen chair and aldermen sayings for cities Magdeburg law

In cases in which the aldermen chairs were not able to bewidmeten with Magdeburg law cities to find a verdict, they could at the aldermen chair in Magdeburg applicants for legal advice ( " instance to Magdeburg "). As a so -called " Oberhof " had the Magdeburg Aldermen chair so that the interpretation of sovereignty over the law and practiced as in the legal training consistently enormous influence. However, the legal advice was usually not a judgment, but an information, which should allow the requesting jurors to find her judgment, however, saw single city constitutions also the Magdeburg result as a binding judgment on.

End of Magdeburg Oberhofes

During early tried individual rulers, to subvert the over territorial significance of the Magdeburg Aldermen chair by installing your own top courtyards, these tests resounding success had granted but only when Germany denominational split by the Reformation, and therefore about remained Catholic areas from Rechtzug to Magdeburg cut were. The final out of the importance of Magdeburg as Oberhof meant the destruction of the extensive collection of sayings of Aldermen chair during the Thirty Years' War, 1631. Using the Archive and speak of the " Law Library " Magdeburg Aldermen chair the basis of its jurisdiction was deprived and subsequently he went as an institution among.

End of the Magdeburg law

In Poland, the Magdeburg law only in the course of the Napoleonic and the Josephine reforms lost ( in Galicia) its validity and the Ukraine lost the Saxon- magdeburger right its laws force until the entry into force of the " Collection of Laws of the Russian Empire " in 1840 in the left-bank Ukraine and two years later at the right bank Ukraine. In Kiev was the Magdeburg law by 1834. Yet the Latvian Civil Law from 1937 can be seen as influenced by Saxon- of Magdeburg law.