NORMANDY, CUSTO3fADY LAW or (Fr. Coutumier de Normandie). The ancient pro vinces of France were governed principally by a system of laws called Coutumes, which had originated in local usages, and been in the course of time reduced to writing and formally sanctioned by the sovereign. Co at ame was distinguished both from /oi, which originated with the king, and from us, or usage not reduced to writing. Of the codes of customary law, one the oldest and most famous was the Coutumzer de Normandie. It was divided into the ancient and modern custom. The former was first reduced to a written form, in 1229 under St. Louis; the latter was the ancient coutumier, modified and reformed in 1585 by commissioners appointed by Henry III., with the concurrence of the three estates of the nobility, clergy, and people of Normandy. The ancient cou tumier treats principally of the duties of the judicial officers, the proceedings in the dif ferent courts, and the rights and obligations of the kings of France, the dukes of Nor mandy, the feudal lords, and the people. In the modern coutumier are minute regulations regarding the transmission of property by will and inheritance. Each of the 22 vicomtes, into which Normandy was divided, had a different mode of devising real property.
The law by which the Channel islands are still governed is based on the customary law of Normandy. The chief judge in Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney retains the Norman name of bailli or bailiff, and his authority is much the same as that officer possessed under the Norman law. One of the most remarkable remnants of the coutumier still subsisting in the Channel islands is the Clamour de Hero. Any one who considers that his rights of property are infringed, protests in the presence of two witnesses, and calling out three times " Ham" (said to be a way of invoking duke Rollo, noted for his justice), summons the trespasser,to desist. He then applies to the authorities, relating what he has done, and proceeds to the record office, where note is taken of the circumstances; all which ceremonial must be gone through before bringing an action of trespass. The decision is generally referred to une 'cue de justice, and the losing party is subjected to a fine, and liable in costs: he had formerly also to undergo un regard de chateau, or twenty four hours' imprisonment, for having implored the aid of the prince without cause.