This work illustrates the women’s juridical condition during the Middle Ages, with specific reference to their processual status. Despite the prohibitions contained in the Corpus iuris civilis and Decretum Gratiani, the jurists active from the second half of the 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century, allow the
women’s exercise of judicial functions ex licentia principis or because of their personal status. With the decretal “Dilecti filii” of 4 November 1202, Innocent III recognizes the women’s potestas iudicandi et arbitrandi when it is exercised on the basis of a consuetudo approbata. The papal decretal and the thought of the jurists can be fully understood looking at the relationship between ius commune and iura propria, and give us the opportunity to reflect again about the system of the ius commune.


Keywords: woman judge; woman arbitrator; medieval legal procedure; Innocent III; consuetudo; ius commune; iura propria; system of the ius commune.