We have found an interesting Argentinian website called UniversoJUS that aims to be the “universe’s largest repository of legal standards”.
This website contains large amounts of legal information, especially concerning laws in South America. Since we are not experts in these matters, we can neither assess the practical value of this information for lawyers, nor whether the information is “up to date”.
In any case, the articles dedicated to the peninsular Basque Fueros attracted our attention. We found 4 entries on the subject:
- Definition of the Fueros of Navarre
- Definition of the General Fuero of Navarre
- Definition of the Fueros of the Basque Provinces
- Definition of the Fuero of Biscay
The first thing we noticed was the difficulty to explain in a few paragraphs the complexity of the traditional Basque legal system and how it was linked (or removed, in most cases) by armed forces, to the legal structure of the Spanish “Nation“- invented in 1808 by the Constitution of Cadiz.
But what was most striking was the clarity with which the text concerning the Fueros of Biscay defined the revolutionary character of the legislative corpus created to protect the civil rights of the inhabitants of Biscay, as well as how article explains the Fueros’ clear desire to be the legal support of Biscay’s own constitutional regime. A vision of the Fuero that coincides with that of Élisée Reclus, the French geographer and anarchist, member of the First International, and creator of Social Geography
However, the text forgets to cite the cornerstone on which the whole system of rights that were applied to the people of Biscay was based on until the Abolition of the Fuero. We’re referring to the principle of Universal nobility, which was the way to guarantee, in times of the Old Regime, some basic rights to all people born in the Feudal State of Biscay (Señorío). These unique rights were not granted to those born outside the borders of Biscay.
The article also forgets to explain that the Law of 1526 is nothing but a mere compilation of previous rules issued by the people of Biscay from time immemorial.
Despite the above, it is well worth quoting the following paragraph (from UniversoJUS) concerning those aforementioned rights:
It is worth remembering various provisions of this old Code. The law 12 tit. I, prohibits torture and the threat thereof; Law 25, tit.XI, bans the confiscation of property; Law 26 of the same title exceeds the Magna Carta (Constitution) and governs the Habeas Corpus Act by saying: “No Prestamero (ecclesiastical person), nor merino (judge), nor any executor is allowed to arrest anyone without a warrant issued by a competent judge, except in cases of in flagrante crimes. Should they do so and should the judge order his release, he will be released, whatever the cause or debts he is imprisoned for”. The inviolability of the home was also established (in the law 4f, tit.XVI) centuries ago, before the French Revolution, with the following wording: “because it is a matter of justice that each home represents a shelter for those who live in it, and given that the Basques are notorious noblemen, no debt, other than deriving from a crime, can lead to imprisonment nor to execute any assets, weapons or horses in their homes, and that in Biscay, except for debt offense, nor prestamero, nor merino nor executor is allowed to execute any action, except for entering into their home accompanied by a unarmed Notary Public in order to check which assets are there; being allowed to deny their entrance without fear or shame; however, if such executor shows an order issued by a competent judge for arresting a criminal, and therefore need to enter the home, they are entitled to it, without the right to deny any such entrance “.
This was an extraordinary political model for its time, which caught the attention of John Adams, the second president of the United States of America, and one of the fathers of the US Constitution.