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Court of Common Pleas in United Kingdom

Definition of Court of Common Pleas

In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Court of Common Pleas : One of the three courts of *common law into which the curia regis was divided (the others being the *Court of Queen’s Bench and the *Court of Exchequer) whose jurisdiction was merged into that of the High Court by the Judicature Acts 1873-75. It became the Common Pleas Division, which in 1880 was merged into the *Queen’s Bench Division.

Introduction to Court of Common Pleas

Court of Common Pleas, one of the great historic tribunals of the common law in England. The court was instituted as a separate jurisdiction in the reign of Henry III, king of England, under the name of the Court of Common Bench, but it originated in the provision of the Magna Carta that common pleas (communia placita) should no longer follow the King’s Court (Curia Regis) as the court wandered over the kingdom, but should be heard in a fixed place. From this beginning down to the reform of the English judicature in 1875, the Court of Common Pleas at Westminster shared with the Court of King’s Bench (or Queen’s Bench) the greater part of the common-law jurisdiction in England.

As distinguished from the Court of King’s Bench, the Court of Common Pleas was the court of the common people of the kingdom, having exclusive jurisdiction in all real actions, that is, suits relating to land, and in actions between private persons with regard to private rights. The King’s Bench was an appeals court, and it also heard cases involving the nobility. The court was composed of a chief justice and as many common (puisne) justices as the business of the court required. The number of justices varied at from four to eight. The Court of Common Pleas was abolished by the Judicature Acts (1873-75), and its functions were transferred to the High Court of Judicature.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about Court of Common Pleas in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to Court of Common Pleas

    In this Section

    Courts, Court of Common Pleas, Court of High Commission, Court of Star Chamber, English Court System Developments, Criminal Courts Structure and Civil Courts Structure.

    The Court of Common Pleas


    The Court of Common Pleas is the standarized name of one of the UK Historic Courts (see the entries in this legal Encyclopedia about court rules and procedural law for more information on some aspects of the Court of Common Pleas in the UK court legal history).

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    Schema Summary

    • Article Name: Court of Common Pleas
    • Author: Danny W.
    • Description: Definition of Court of Common Pleas In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Court of [...]

    This entry was last updated: March 22, 2020


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