The introduction of the scabini, men who served as judgement finders, has long been connected to judicial reform enacted by Charlemagne. By the thirteenth century, the term scabini had become synonymous with legal culture and courts from Norway to Hungary and beyond. This article will trace the scabini from historiographical debates over their provenance, to their introduction under Charlemagne, why and how this change was enacted, their duties and the impact of the reform on terminology and the writing of documentary texts. This touches on keystones of changing historiographical perspectives of the Carolingians: from nineteenth‐century views of a ‘Germanic’ past that privileged collective judgement to twentieth‐century emphasis on the written word as a mode of governance and the relationship between Charlemagne and the aristocracy, and recent attention to the function of capitularies in tenth‐century western Europe. It will explore the alleged disappearance of the scabini, a development that is connected in scholarship to nothing less significant than debates concerning the feudal revolution, before considering areas for future study.