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Central Common Law Courts in United Kingdom

(Source: the University of South Caroline Gould School of Law) According to Baker, “the establishment of a stationary royal court, functioning independently of the king’s personal presence, marks the origin of the traditional judicial system of England. It is impossible to say precisely when it happened, because in the absence of continuous surviving records before the 1190’s, the evidence is fragmentary.” (10).

During a large part of the thirteenth century, as MacFarlane describes it, “The common law was enforced and administered by a number of courts whose overlapping jurisdiction is confusing, and constantly changing over time. To simplify very considerably, the most important court for the hearing of pleas of the crown was the King’s Bench… The most important court for civil litigation was known after the type of action as the court of Common Pleas.” (11). Although the development of these separate courts began to take place during the reign of Henry III, it is not until the reign of Edward I that a formal distinction can be made between the three central royal courts. By the time of his accession to the throne in 1272, these three distinct courts now existed; the King’s Bench, the Common Pleas, known at that time as the Common Bench, and the Court of the Exchequer together with the Exchequer of the Jews.

Central Common Law Courts and Medieval Law

Central Common Law Courts and Legal History

Bibliographies of English Law History

  • Maxwell, William H. A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Volume 1: English Law to 1800. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1955-
  • Beale, Joseph H. A Bibliography of Early English Law Books. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926.
  • Winfield, Percy H. The Chief Sources of English Legal History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925.


See Also

  • Medieval Lawyer (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Adultery (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Concilliar Courts (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Punishment (in this legal Encyclopedia)

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  • Article Name: Central Common Law Courts
  • Author: K. R. Simmonds
  • Description: (Source: the University of South Caroline Gould School of Law) According to Baker, the establishment of a stationary royal [...]

This entry was last updated: February 18, 2017


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