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Irrigators’ Tribunals of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast: the Council of Wise Men of the plain of Murcia and the Water Tribunal of the plain of Valencia

Language: English
Analogue only: Français, Español, 

The irrigators’ tribunals of the Spanish Mediterranean coast are traditional law courts for water management that date back to the al-Andalus period (ninth to thirteenth centuries). The two main tribunals – the Council of Wise Men of the Plain of Murcia and the Water Tribunal of the Plain of Valencia – are recognized under Spanish law. Inspiring authority and respect, these two courts, whose members are elected democratically, settle disputes orally in a swift, transparent and impartial manner. The Council of Wise Men has seven geographically representative members, and has jurisdiction over a landowners’ assembly of 23,313 members. The Water Tribunal comprises eight elected administrators representing a total of 11,691 members from nine communities. In addition to their legal role the irrigators’ tribunals play a key part in the communities of which they are a visible symbol, as apparent from the rites performed when judgments are handed down and the fact that the tribunals often feature in local iconography. They provide cohesion among traditional communities and synergy between occupations (wardens, inspectors, pruners, etc.), contribute to the oral transmission of knowledge derived from centuries-old cultural exchanges, and have their own specialist vocabulary peppered with Arabic borrowings. In short, the courts are long-standing repositories of local and regional identity and are of special significance to local inhabitants.

on this subject: Nomination file/Dossier de candidature

Topics and Tags
Place/region: Mediterranean region, Valencia, Murcia, Spain, Europe
Series: Inscriptions on the Intangible Heritage Lists
Type: Documentary
Production and personalities:
Director: Juan Angel Gomez
Participant: Inmaculada Garcia, Luis Pablo Martinez, Silvia Egea
Publisher: Region de Murcia, Generalitat Valenciana
Producer: Mario Pereiro, Coloma Thous, Justo Mora
Coproducer/sponsor: Coonselleria de Cultura i Esport
Published in:
Rights: Consejo de Hombres Buenos de la Huerta de Murcia; Tribunal de ls Aguas de la Vega de Valencia

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Original: DVD
Location: EV only
UMVS reference: AVFONDS-CLTITH-2009-0017100005
Source ref.: DOC:00455-EN, CAND:00171
Rights holder: UNESCO; Region de Murcia, Generalitat Valenciana