Bologna, Collegio di Spagna, Cod. 279
papal curia heard thousands of cases each years by the end of the twelfth
century. Pope Alexander III (1159-1181) was a key figure in this
development. During his pontificate decretal
legislation became the most important source for
living law in the Ius commune. These
decretals contained reports of appellate cases that dealt with all
the issues important for Christian society.
Cases were appealed to Rome from all corners of
Christendom: From Durham in England to
Palermo in Sicily.
From Salamanca in Spain to Prague in
Bohemia, Gran in Hungary and Cracow in Poland.
As Walter Ullmann put it: "Decretals dealt with matrimonial matters, feudal, electoral, judicial, legatine, penal, disciplinary subjects, in addition to issues concerning collegiate ecclesiastical bodies, the rights of cathedral chapters and the disposal of goods during a vacancy, oaths, clerical duties, appointment of officials, details of tithes, rents and dues, prebends, immunities, extensive and restrictive interpretation of the law, constitutional problems, appellate jurisdiction." (A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages (London 1972) 199–200).