Cortes de León
1188
Translated by Lillian Simmons

In the name of God. I Don Alfonso, King of León and Galicia, on the celebration of the Courts in León with the archbishop, bishops, magnates of my kingdom and citizens elected by each city, decree and promise, by oath, that I will keep for all the clerics and seculars of my kingdom the good customs established by my predecessors. I also decree and swear that if someone did or submitted to me an accusation against another, without delay I will discover the informer to the betrayed, and if (the former) could not prove, in my curia, the accusation that he made, he should suffer the penalty that the betrayed should suffer if the accusation were proven. I also swear that for the accusation that I receive  against someone or for the accusation that someone told me about someone, he will not harm or do evil  to their person or their property, before citing him by letters before my curia to make it right , as  ordered by my curia; and if (the accusation or evildoing) cannot be proven, he who made the accusation  will suffer the aforementioned penalty and also pay the expenses that the accused incurred in traveling to appear.

I also promise I will not make war nor peace nor make agreements without meeting with the bishops, nobles and great men, whose advice I should follow.

We establish also that neither I nor anyone in my kingdom will destroy or invade another's house or cut their trees or vineyards. Those who have complaints against somebody should go to me or to the lord of the land or to the laws established by me, by the bishop, or by the lords. And if the person against whom the complaint is directed would give surety or pledge that will be right under his jurisdiction, he should not suffer any damage. But if he does not want to do so, the land lord or the justices (in their jurisdiction) may force him, as may be just. If the lord of the land or the judges refused, refer it to me with the testimony of the bishop and of good men, and I will avenge.

I also strictly forbid someone to do riots in my kingdom; request justice, as has been said before. If someone did it, he will pay double the damage and lose my love, the profit and the land, if he legally owned it.

I also order that no one dare to take by force movable or real property owned by another. Who would overtake them, must  pay double restitution to he who suffered the violence.

I also order that nobody may take possession of garment but through the justices or mayors appointed by me. These and landlords faithfully apply the law to all plaintiffs in the cities and boroughs. If someone takes any garment otherwise he would be punished as violent invaders, and likewise he who steals oxen or cows who serve for plowing, or things that the farmer has with him in the field, or the same body of the farmer. And if someone steals or takes possession as was said before, he would be punished and excommunicated.

He who denies having done violence to get rid of the above sentence, shall give surety in accordance with the jurisdiction and ancient customs of his town, and later an inquiry would take place as to whether he has or has not committed violence and according to the results of the inquiry, he must satisfy the bail. Researchers are appointed by consent of the prosecutor or the accused, and if they do not agree, are chosen from among those who are in the town. If the justices and mayors, on the advice of the abovesaid men or the landowners, appoint to do justice  those who  have the authority to admonish men,  administer the law to the complainants, and give me evidence of what the complaints of men are, and whether they are true or not.

I decree also that if a judge refuses justice to the complainant or maliciously postpones and does not apply the law  until the third day, he should present witnesses before any of the authorities named  whose testimony will manifest the truth of the fact, and the law must require payment by the justices to the complainant of double the amount of demand and costs. If by chance all the judges of the town denied justice to the complainant, present the testimony of good men, through which to prove (your rights); and then, without incurring a penalty, take surety instead from both judges and mayors of the amount of demand and costs, so the justices will pay double, and also double pay for the harm that could befall he who was accused.

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