The thirteen parlements functioned as the supreme courts of appeal. The Parlement of Paris had by far the largest area of competency, with one-third of the territory and perhaps two-thirds of France’s 26 million in 1789, but each of the provinces added to France since the fifteenth century had one. The judges owned their offices, which by the eighteenth century also conferred nobility upon the holder. This ownership, or “venality,” made them very difficult to dismiss. Throughout the eighteenth century, the judges of the parlements sought to limit or overturn those initiatives of the monarchy that they thought impinged upon the system of privileges characteristic of the old regime. Their main weapon in this battle was the remonstrance by which the parlements could refuse to register a royal edict and explain why they refused to do so. Ultimately the King could force registration in a lit de justice, but this was particularly costly.
“Parlement,” LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY: EXPLORING THE FRENCH REVOUTION, accessed August 4, 2020, https://revolution.chnm.org/items/show/1060.