European Court of Arbitral Justice

The "Nobiliary International Court - permanent organ of the European Court of Arbitrary Justice is established in Lugano, with a public act, in order to resolve any disputes that may arise between individuals, deprive and public, associations, or organizations, particularly disputes concerning litigation, which should not be resolved amicably, but also and eventually to pursue the same goal, to the benefit of other associations, organizations, institutions and / or private.

An arbitration ruling is based upon the judgment of a panel of experts: experts in the general subject matter, in this case in heraldry, in genealogy and in nobiliary rights. There are an odd number of judges and they have the sole task - as experts in the subject matter in general of evaluating and deciding solely from the documents which are presented. If the parties do not ask for further investigation, and the documents presented are many, the judges keep to that which comes before them as documentary evidence. After having examined that which had been presented by the contending parties, the judges made a judgment on the right to a coat of arms or title of nobility, etc.

To have nobility titles recognized in Italy, it can be done by Lawyers through an International Arbitration Tribunal Court. The International Arbitration Tribunal, established under Italian and International law, issues a sentence ascertaining the right to noble titles, predicates and legitimacy of the noble coat of arms.

The sentence issued by the International Arbitration Tribunal is a first-degree sentence under Italian law, once an execution decree has been issued by the President of an ordinary tribunal, pursuant to art. 825 of the Italian Civil Procedure Code. The extract of the sentence and the decree by the president of the ordinary tribunal are published in the Official Gazette.

This sentence is irrevocable under Italian Law, and can be executed, within the limits established by international law, within those States that signed the New York Convention on 10th June 1958. Likewise the sentence establishes that on the confirmation and baptism certificates, the title and predicate can be included.

The 1958 New York Convention gives local and national Italian arbitration decrees international recognition and validity. However it is a well-known historical and legal certainty that what one country recognizes as authentic another may regard as illegal, prohibitory and unacceptable. The majority nations do not officially recognize foreign nobility, especially dispossessed non-territorial nobility and royalty. Each government can disallow and discard anything against its own "public policy" as a recognized inalienable and immutable right according to the treaty.  It should also be clear that, whereas national laws aim to provide clear-cut definitions or criteria, their validity extends only to their own borders.

In Italy some vendors of fake titles claim to arrange for the customer to acquire an Italian title based on adoption or even through notarial acts ceding the titles to the customer. In Italy, where titles of nobility have not been officially recognized since 1948, and where nobility by feudal tenure was abolished in most regions during the years immediately prior to 1820, an adoptive child cannot succeed to his adoptive parent's title, and no legal act can serve to renounce a hereditary title. Claims to sell titles of nobility linked to ownership of a certain estate or castle are based on equally misguided misconceptions. It should be noted, however, that no Italian publication or record, not even the Consulta Araldica's official registry (the Libro d'Oro now retained at the Archivio Centrale dello Stato at Rome-EUR), is a truly complete record of Italy's nobles and armigers.

An arbitration ruling is based upon the judgment of a panel of experts: experts in the general subject matter, in this case in heraldry, in genealogy and in nobiliary rights. There are an odd number of judges and they have the sole task - as experts in the subject matter in general of evaluating and deciding solely from the documents which are presented. If the parties do not ask for further investigation, and the documents presented are many, the judges keep to that which comes before them as documentary evidence. After having examined that which had been presented by the contending parties, the judges made a judgment on the right to a coat of arms or title of nobility, etc.

The concept of Italian judgments has often been considered as something of a discredited idea but is only a commonplace as many other common places like English, Irish, German, French or Spanish cases. Yet, so many Americans, Scots, English and Irish, and which run about these discredited recognition to obtain them.

In Italy the use of a coat of arms over two or three centuries is not, in itself, an ipso facto proof or ensign of nobility, although most lawfully armigerous families were in the past noble ones, if perhaps untitled. Armorial heraldry was never regulated as rigidly in Italy as it was in Britain. At all events, there is a reasonable expectation that a family of recognized titled nobility (counts, barons) extant for at least a few generations since 1700 would have its blazon of arms in one of the various historical references published before 1946..

A number of legitimate titles recognized in the pre-unitary Italian states (Two Sicilies, Tuscany, Parma, Modena, Papal State), as well as the Republic of San Marino, were not recognised in the Kingdom of Italy between 1860 and 1948. In most cases these were small baronies, minor lordships (signorie) or untitled ennoblements (patrizi and nobili). In connection with this, some Sicilian titles could devolve to female heiresses in the absence of close male kin, and in a few instances there are claimants (in female lines) in Spain as well as Italy, the former looking to Two Sicilies (pre 1860) legislation and the latter citing Italian (post 1860) law. Most of the parallel claims (usually by Spanish citizens) were made after 1948, when the Consulta Araldica (Italy's heraldic authority) was suspended by the Italian constitution, which abolished recognition of titles of nobility.

Recognition of Nobiliary Titles

In Italy, so long as criminal impersonation is not involved, one may call oneself by any title of nobility desired based on principles of freedom of expression and the simple fact that such titles are not regulated in law in the Italian Republic.

Italy has no "college of arms" or other government agency empowered to recognize titles of nobility or personal coats of arms. Furthermore, it should be remembered that historical fact is ascertained through scientific reasoning and solid evidence, not via "approval" from a self-appointed "authority" or by somebody who happens to be descended from royalty. That they gain acceptance on the internet or edit entries in Wikipedia does not make them real.

There is no mechanism, via a notarial act, an adoption or a last testament for a titled Italian to cede or will his title to a person he designates, be that person related or not. Furthermore, it is impossible to buy or sell an Italian title of nobility. The only way for an adoptive child to succeed to a nobiliary title was via a royal rescript, and there is no longer a king of Italy or its predecessor states to issue such a rescript or decree.

In theory, and certainly in law, the heads of Italy's extant royal dynasties, Savoy,Bourbon-Sicilies, Bourbon-Parma, Hapsburg-Tuscany, may recognize titles of nobility. In practice, they rarely do.

Historical uses of such honorific titles as Magnifico or Don are not, in themselves, proofs of nobility.

A claim to inheritance of a title of nobility through female transmission (from the claimant's mother or aunt) cannot be effected because there is no monarch to confirm it; even in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies such succession was not automatic but required approval from the Crown.

No private Organization has the authority to recognize titles of nobility on behalf of Italy's royal dynasties or the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. This includes the Corpo della Nobiltà which, contrary to a popular misconception, is not a "college of arms," court of chivalry or "legal successor to the Consulta Araldica". 

Titles cease to exist

Some of the below methods of loss would affect individuals and their families only, while others would impact a whole dynasty wherein the regal claim would cease to exist and they would become mere commoners with no entitlement greater than anyone else in the nation.

An Italian court's sentence in favor of a solicitor asserting that he was libeled (defamed) by a person who placed in doubt the solicitor's claim to a nobiliary title does not constitute the court's recognition of the solicitor’s claim.

A notarial act claiming a title of nobility thought to be dormant has legal value in Italy only as a proclamation. A title cannot be claimed or sold via such a proclamation.

The juridical assignment of a second surname or even a predicato (territorial designation) by an Italian court of law does not constitute recognition of a title of nobility.

There is no mechanism, via a notarial act, an adoption or a last testament for a titled Italian to cede or will his title to a person he designates, be that person related or not. Furthermore, it is impossible to buy or sell an Italian title of nobility. The only way for an adoptive child to succeed to a nobiliary title was via a royal rescript, and there is no longer a king of Italy or its predecessor states to issue such a rescript or decree.

Validity or illegitimacy of any claim to sovereignty or royalty is always a legal matter, not hereditary. For example, Sovereignty and royalty can be permanently lost in many different ways, not only for individuals and/or their posterity, but for whole dynasties:

  1. Abdication and/or renunciation
  2. Dereliction and neglect
  3. Cession by treaty, will or some other arrangement, such as, by estoppel creating an immediate loss or forfeiture of all rights
  4. "Inter-vivos" transfer, sale or mortgage in ancient or modern times
  5. Tyranny, oppression or crimes against humanity
  6. Papal or Imperial confiscation of all royal rights and instituting a new dynasty as done in the past
  7. Abandonment either overtly or by acquiescence or neglect
  8. Marriage without permission
  9. Unequal marriage
  10. Religious Laws regarding succession
  11. Prescriptive law, which involves “B” and “G.”
  12. Debellatio
  13. Extinction
  14. Disinheritance and exclusions
  15. Consitutional stipulations and house rules
  16. Designations of who or what family will or will not have direct line or collateral succession rights.

Styles and titles of deposed monarchs

General tradition indicates that monarchs who have been deposed, but have not abdicated; retain the use of their style and title for the duration of their lifetimes, but both die with them. Hence Greece's deposed king is still technically His Majesty King Constantine II of the Hellenes, as a personal title, not a constitutional office, since the abolition of the monarchy by the Hellenic Republic in 1974. In contrast, the ex-King Michael I of Romania, who abdicated his throne in 1947, technically lost the use of his title, though out of politeness, he may still be called His Majesty King Michael or Your Majesty.

While this rule is generally observed, and indeed some exiled monarchs are allowed diplomatic passports by their former state, other states take offence at the use of such titles. In 1981, the then Greek President Konstantinos Karamanlis declined to attend the wedding of the Prince of Wales when it was revealed that Greece's deposed monarch, a cousin of the Prince, had been referred to as "King" in his invitation. The Hellenic Republic has challenged King Constantine's right to use his title and his passport was revoked in 1994 because he did not use a surname as his passport at the time stated "Constantine, former King of the Hellenes.". However, Constantine II now travels in and out of Greece without any problems, on a Danish diplomatic passport as a descendant of King Christian IX by the name Constantino de Grecia (Spanish for "Constantine of Greece".

CONCESSION OR REFUTE OF A NOBLE TITLE, PREDICATE AND COAT OF ARMS

The concession of a noble title is not the prerogative of the State, rather they are granted in virtue of the merits recognized the person by power, prerogative, the crown and the discretion of the Pretender Prince to the throne who holds the Fons and Jus Honorum.

This concept has always been followed by Reigning Dynasties who lost their throne further to final occupation of the land and, therefore, without debellatio, and therefore the figure of the Pretender prince arose. If a noble title nowadays was well earned and worn with honor, it has the same value as those titles of the past, as anything is effective in the moment it is acquired; i.e. as the noble title is emanated by Sovereign prerogative (rex nobilem tantum facere potest), we have an “object” Sovereign faced with a “subject”; this means the noble title is not of antique or native origin, rather dative.

Noble titles that may be conceded ex novo or claimed are: Prince, Duke, Marquis, Count, Viscount, Baron, Nobleman, Patrician, Byzantine Patrician, Sir, Hereditary Knight; these titles can be transmitted to their children or, compatibly with the entitled person’s wishes, to other members or otherwise of the Dynasty or, if preferred, to the male or female agnation (Related on or descended from the father`s or male side). The same goes with Letters Patent or equivalent titles of renewal, recognition, amnesty and consent, including the claim to Arms, qualifications and treatment or lucubration with ex novo outlining of the coat of arms. According to the Constitution , the State is not interested whether someone has an antique or new noble title, and does not prohibit its exhibition and use in public and private relationships, nor is the abuse of noble titles considered a crime.

Self-styled titles

Sometimes someone makes up a title that does not even purport to belong to an existing nation. Those who do this may then grant other titles or honors, or a membership in a self-styled order of chivalry, to other persons. This is often in exchange for payment, gifts, or donations. Frequently those selling these titles will provide an illusion of recognition for the titles. This is accomplished by making it seem as if the title is widely recognized as legitimate, generally by the use of one or more web sites (or even an elaborate collection of mutually referencing web sites) are created that feature or list those who have assumed (or bought) titles. Often these web sites can appear to be themselves quite legitimate and convincing; they are largely designed to encourage the purchase of titles and/or to convey the legitimacy of titles already purchased.

Laws Regarding Coats of Arms in Use Today

Most European countries adopted the use of coats of arms over the centuries in the Middle Ages. Today, nearly anyone can claim the use of those arms, except in cases where they are trademarked, as most European countries no longer regulate their use (and some countries, like Italy, do not recognize them at all, leaving anyone free to adopt a coat of arms as their own). In the United Kingdom, however, it is different. There are still laws there governing the use of coats of arms that must be followed by anyone in any part of the world who wishes to use them.

The most important thing to remember about coats of arms in the United Kingdom is that there is no such thing as a coat of arms that is granted to a surname. They are granted to individuals only. To legally use the arms, a person must be the person to whom the arms were originally granted, or a direct male-line descendant, no illegitimate lines are eligible for use of the arms) of that person.

While there is nothing wrong with designing your own coat of arms for your family, it is unlikely you will discover you are entitled to use an ancient and established on that has been handed down for centuries through the same family. Your family might actually have a legitimate ancient coat of arms, but your branch probably doesn’t hold the right to use it. Only in a very few, exceptional cases will you find you belong to a line that does have the right to use an ancient coat of arms.