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Bench in United Kingdom

Definition of Bench

In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Bench :

1. Literally, the seat of a judge in court. The bench is usually in an elevated position at one side of the court room facing the seats of counsel and solicitors.

2. A group of judges or magistrates sitting together in a court, or all judges, collectively. Thus a lawyer who has been appointed a judge is said to have been raised to the bench.

Bench in North Ireland

Judges sitting in court are collectively known as ‘the Bench’.

Meaning of Bench

The following is an old definition of Bench [1]: The judge’s seat in a court. Also, the judges themselves as a tribunal or a professional class: as, the common or common pleas bench, the supreme bench, a full or partial bench. Compare Bar, 1. King’s or Queen’s bench. The supreme court of common law in England, now merged into the High Court of Justice. Abbreviated K. B., and Q. B. The king in person used to sit In this court: in theory it was always held before the sovereign. During the reign of a queen it is called the “Queen’s bench.” In the time of Cromwell it was styled the “upper bench.” It succeeded the aula regie, see, in this resource, the term Although supposed to follow the person of the sovereign, it was in fact held at Westminster. It consisted formerly of a chief justice and four associate justices – the sovereign conservators of the peace. The jurisdiction of the court, which was originally criminal and included trespasses, in time included all personal common-law actions between subjects, and actions of ejectment. It had also supervisoiy power over inferior tribunals, magistrates, and corporations.

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Notes and References

  1. Concept of Bench provided by the Anderson Dictionary of Law (1889) (Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims and an Exposition of the Principles of Law: Comprising a Dictionary and Compendium of American and English Jurisprudence; William C. Anderson; T. H. Flood and Company, Law Publishers, Chicago, United States)

English Law: Bench in the Past

Latin Bancus, used for tribunal. In England (see more about this legal system) there are two courts to which this word is applied. Bancus Regius, King’s Bench Bancus Communis, Common Bench or Pleas. There is further information on this topic in this legal reference. The jus banci, says Spelman, properly belongs to the king’s judges, who administer justice in the last resort. There is further information on this topic in this legal reference. The judges of the inferior courts, as of the barons, are deemed to, judge plano pede and are such as are called in the civil law pedanei judices or by the Greeks Xauaidixastai, that is, humi judicantes. There is further information on this topic in this legal reference. The Greeks called the seats of their higher judges Bumata and of their inferior judges Bathra. There is further information on this topic in this legal reference. The Romans used the word sellae and tribunalia, to name the seats of their higher judges and subsellia, to name those of the lower. See Spelman’s Gloss. (ad verb.) Bancus; also, 1 Reeves Hist. Eng. Law, 40, 4to ed. and postea Curia Regis. [1]

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Partialy, this information about bench is based on the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, 1848 edition. There is a list of terms of the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, including bench.

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Bench
  • Author: Agostino Von Hassell
  • Description: Definition of Bench In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Bench : 1. Literally, the [...]

This entry was last updated: July 22, 2020

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