José Bonet leads the investigation to recognise the Comuner Court of Aldaia as a World Heritage Site

  • Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit
  • December 23rd, 2021
José Bonet, Professor of Procedural Law at the University of Valencia.
José Bonet, Professor of Procedural Law at the University of Valencia.

The professor of Procedural Law at the University of Valencia (UV) José Bonet leads the investigation to urge the declaration of the Comuner del Rollet de Gràcia Court of Aldaia as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. His work has already led the Congress of Deputies to recognise the entity as a body for the Administration of Justice, and now it seeks to place it at the level of the Water Court of Valencia and the Council of Good Men of Murcia, since 2009 the only two Spanish judicial institutions with that recognition.

José Bonet has highlighted that the declaration of the Comuner Court first as an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) and later as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity will imply “internationally recognising the values of this historical, cultural and legal treasure of the Aldaia orchard, and that recently was not very well known. Likewise, its protection will be guaranteed and it will be highlighted as an important element of the Valencian identity”. Currently, he is preparing a chapter for a collective book on the Valencian water courts, where he analyses the parliamentary procedure, as well as the immediate consequences of the declaration of the Orihuela and Aldaia courts as customary and traditional.

The Senate and the House of Commons, based on the work carried out by the UV professor, have recognised the Comuner del Rollet de Gràcia Court as a traditional and customary entity (when customs or uses become a source of law) this December. In this way, the traditional norms of this community of irrigators have come to have the force of law and their decisions, the value of a judicial sentence, as it once happened with the Water Court of Valencia.

In fact, the Centre Board of the Faculty of Law of the University of Valencia, meeting on July 23, 2020, already formally supported the declaration of the court as a customary entity and requested that the procedures be started. To this fact, it is added that since June 2021 and promoted by the Aldaia City Council, the General Directorate of Culture and Heritage of the Valencian Government has initiated a file to declare the Comuner Court immaterial property of relevance.

In this process, the professor of Procedural Law José Bonet has played a key role in the recovery of the Court with actions such as the drafting of its regulations, the dissemination of numerous publications that have served as the basis for the parliamentary initiative in the Senate, direction of scientific and cultural conferences, and contact with the institutions and political groups that have led to the recognition.


Rollet de Gràcia irrigation canal

The Rollet de Gràcia waters on the right bank of the Turia river. It takes the waters of Benáger, one of the irrigation canals that make up the Water Court of Valencia, in Aldaia, whose term waters approximately a quarter. The community of irrigators is made up of about 300 owners, a total of approximately 750,000 square meters and it is on this space that the Comuner Court exercises its action. It celebrates its feast on August 4 and meets on the last Wednesday of each month. Currently, the trustee of the irrigation community is Enrique Andrés, and the president of the court, José Bonet himself. Its regulations were approved in July 2017 and was classified as “an organ of immemorial origin and of a traditional and customary nature”, based on oral tradition. In addition, numerous conferences have been organised on the Comuner Court to disseminate its importance and three books have been published, two of them with the participation of the professor from the University of Valencia.


José Bonet Navarro

He has authored more than 200 legal publications and has taught for 29 years. Among other things, he was an alternate magistrate of the Valencia Provincial Court and is currently a member of the International Association of Procedural Law, the Ibero-American Institute of Procedural Law, president of the Appeals Committee of the Valencian Community Tennis Federation and vice president of the Valencian Lawyers Association. He has a 5 five-year period of teaching, a 4 six-year period of research and 1 of transfer.


Legal regulation

The reform of article 19 of the Organic Law of the Judicial Power of December 2021 gives the Common Court of Aldaia judicial value, recognising it as customary and traditional. This recognition is derived from article 125 of the Spanish Constitution, according to which citizens may participate in the Administration of Justice, among others, through customary and traditional courts.


Photo captions:

- Rollet de Gràcia irrigation canal of Aldaia.

- Meeting of the Comuner Court.