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Sherilyn Bouyer MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Early Modern History, Memory Studies, Religious History & Theology, French History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2021-2022

Trial and Error: Transitional Justice in the Bipartisan Courts

University of Groningen
Overarching project: Building Peace: Transitional Justice in Early Modern France
Supervisor(s): Prof. dr. R. M. Esser, Dr. D.C. van der Linden
Start date: 1 March 2022

The Edict of Nantes (1598) put an end to four decades of armed conflict between Catholics and Protestants in the Kingdom of France and implemented mechanisms to promote peace in a divided society, including bipartisan courts, which are the focus of this sub-project. The edict created these courts, also known as chambres de l’édit (Chambers of the Edict), in five parlements (courts of appeal) of the French kingdom. Until their demise in 1679, these courts, composed of Catholic and Protestant judges, adjudicated on disputes between individual Catholics and Protestants. This research project will investigate the implementation and application of the bipartisan courts in early modern France. My focus is on the chambre de l’édit of Languedoc, a region with above-average concentrations of Protestants and ongoing religious tensions after 1598. The objective of this sub-project is to analyze the role of tribunals in the peace-making process, with a long-term perspective: I will examine post-war lawsuits throughout the seventeenth century, analyzing how litigation evolved. The central hypothesis is that the bipartisan courts succeeded in reaching even-handed sentences, but eventually had their rulings undercut by local authorities questioning their legitimacy.