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Why did Louis XIV establish High Courts of Justice in North America? The Sovereign Council of Quebec (1663) and the Superior Council of Louisiana (1712) through the prism of legal transplant theories

Abstract : Why did Louis XIV establish high courts in the distant and sparsely populated North-American colonies? The logic of the establishment of the Sovereign Council of Québec in 1663 and the Superior Council of Louisiana in 1712 is indeed in no way similar to the one which led to the creation of high courts in the metropolitan territories previously under foreign sovereignty. In the colonies, there was no need to safeguard the provincial privileges, in particular that to be judged in accordance with the local customs and procedural rules. Historians have emphasized the idea that justice foremost asserted the king’s authority on his overseas territories and France’s position on the international scene. Colonial institutions were thus merely considered as extensions of the metropolitan model. This paper proposes to study the high courts of New France through the prism of legal transplant theories, focusing on the objectives and expectations of the donor rather than on their objects or on the obstacles faced by the receiver. We assert that the overseas high courts were a means to define and orientate the French colonial policy rather than an end in themselves. Their judicial and, above all, regulatory competences made them indeed a particularly suitable instrument for the fulfillment of the monarchy’s political and economic expectations.
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https://hal.univ-lille.fr/hal-03097584
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Soumis le : mardi 5 janvier 2021 - 13:52:57
Dernière modification le : samedi 9 janvier 2021 - 03:33:29
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Serge Dauchy. Why did Louis XIV establish High Courts of Justice in North America? The Sovereign Council of Quebec (1663) and the Superior Council of Louisiana (1712) through the prism of legal transplant theories. Legal History Review / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis, Brill Academic Publishers, 2020, Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review, 88 (3-4), pp.440-468. ⟨hal-03097584⟩

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