Spruchakten (Verdict Files) of the Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law and its associated professors functioned throughout the entire modern age as a Spruchkollegium (Verdict Council) that could be called upon by other courts, if there was disagreement in the decision-making or if there were any procedural questions. Approximately 11000 of these consultation requests and corresponding legal opinions and responsa from the Faculty from the years 1580 to 1871 have been maintained in the Spruchakten at Greifswald’s University Archive.

The cases that were dealt with came from locations well beyond the boundaries of historical Pomerania. The Faculty’s verdicts were given to files sent from courts and individuals from the Duchies of Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Holstein, Saxe-Lauenburg and Brunswick-Lüneburg, the Bishoprics of Hamburg, Lübeck, Ratzeburg and Schwerin, as well as from all over the Hanseatic area of northern Germany and from further afield.

The cases cover issues related to inheritance and marital affairs, theft, insolvency and debt, defamation, capital crime, mainly murder and manslaughter, child murder and, up into the 18th Century, even witchcraft. 

to the Spruchakten