The Houses of Appeal
Letter from Filipe I
© Reproducción fotográfica del original. Fuente: Arquivo General de Simancas E428.
Once he began his rule in Portugal (after recognition and confirmation in the Courts of Tomar in 1581), the Spanish monarch Filipe II (Filipe I of Portugal) promoted a reform of the judicial system in force in Portugal, following which he ordered, among others, a decentralization of the superior courts which included the creation, in Porto, of the House of Appeal.
Letter from Filipe I
Letter written by Filipe I (Filipe II of Spain) addressed to the Council of Porto requesting the commissioning of the House of Appeal of Porto. Dated September 12, 1582, Lisbon.
In this document, Philip I determines "for the joy of aggrandizing that city and ennoble it more (...) I agreed to move the Court of the said house of jurisdiction [in Lisbon] to that city, and in it shall reside from now on, even with more authority than it had (...)" adding still ”that said change takes place soon, and I have sent notice to the judges and officials of said house of jurisdiction, that on the third day of November of this present year they will gather in that city, as will the President that I have to appoint for them to start operating; I wanted to let you know so that you can deem the most convenient place for the dispatch of said Appeal, since soon it will start in the house where the Council is made, and having any other thing that you will be so kind to remind me in this matter, and do so soon.” Lisbon XY, September. M. D. LXXXYo. King."
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE HOUSE OF APPEAL OF PORTO
On the 4th floor, in the 7th Section, the “Criação da Casa da Relação do Porto”, a fresco by Augusto Gomes [1910-1976], is one of the most iconic works of this whole artistic ensemble and represents the solemn opening of the institution in 1583, and its first governor, Pero Guedes, oath of office.
Initially, the House of Appeal operated in the court room of the Council Chambers (which, at the time, occupied the so-called "House of the 24", next to the Cathedral). The commissioning took place on November 3, 1582.
Monte da Cividade Palace
The House of Appeal then moved to the Governor's family Palace in Monte da Cividade (which for this reason became known as Monte da Relação (Hill of Appeal) and the street leading to it as Calçada da Relação (Road of Appeal).