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Carl-Henry Geschwind

Conflict-of-interest rules for lagrettemenn in 1600s

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Carl-Henry Geschwind

In a skiftebrev dated 23 June 1602 (reproduced in Mandal Sorenskriveri, Ekstrarettsprotokoll nr. 1 [1688-1707], s. 640 - https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/41798/640, bottom of left-hand side and top of right-hand side), Mats, the husband of Ingeborg Gjestsdotter, was given a portion of Landøy (Halse Sogn, Vest-Agder). Among those witnessing the document was "Torsten Röbierg" (=Torstein Olsson Rauberg; see Per Reidar Christiansen, Folk i Nedenes, Mandals og Lista len 1560-1611, #3653). 

 

There are internet genealogies out there asserting that Mats Landøy was Mats Torsteinsson, son of Torstein Olsson Rauberg. I have found absolutely no proof for this, but am now wondering whether I might have actual disproof. Under the rules in place in the early 1600s, would it have been possible for Torstein Rauberg, as one of the "svoren Laugrettemend", to put his seal on a document for a transaction involving his son? Or does the fact that Torstein was one of the lagrettemenn here demonstrate that Mats was not related to him?

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Carl-Henry Geschwind

Very interesting, Trudy.

 

What Torbjørn seems to be referring to is conflict-of-interest at actual ting meetings - I'm not quite sure this also applies to sealing of documents. I've been trying to see whether I can find the reference in Kristian IV's lov, but I'm not familiar enough with old Norwegian law to find it (my professional training is in U.S. tax law).

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Dag Thorsdalen

Carl-Henry, this "skiftebrev" is dated to 1602 when Magnus Lagabøte's landslov (State Law) from 1274/76 was still in effect. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Lagabøtes_landslov 

https://www.nb.no/items/URN:NBN:no-nb_digibok_2012060605185 

 

It was costumary to use relatives as legal witnesses (lagrettemenn) to these types of legal acts. That a man was acting as a lagrettemann in connection with other persons, is often (but not always) am indication that there was a relationship between them. The principle was that the closer the connections were, the better a witness was. And the same was a witness with a potential for conflicting interests. I can't remember a father acting as a lagrettemann in a document involving his son. On the other hand, I'm unable to see any legal problems with a father acting in such a role. 

 

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Carl-Henry Geschwind

Thank you, Dag, that is very helpful.

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