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Court of Star Chamber in United Kingdom

Introduction to Court of Star Chamber

Court of Star Chamber, in English history, court controlled by the monarch and so called because it originally sat in the royal palace of Westminster in a room that had stars painted on the ceiling. The court was created in 1487, when King Henry VII forced Parliament to pass an act asserting the ancient right of the king’s council to hear petitions of redress. In addition to the councillors, two judges of the royal courts were appointed to this court. It exercised wide civil and criminal jurisdiction and was able to try nobles too powerful to be tried in other courts. The court had the power to order defendants tortured to extort their confessions, and its punitive powers included the imposition of fines, prison sentences, and mutilation of guilty people; it could not impose the death penalty. Although the court functioned without a jury, it did not abuse its powers, and its proceedings were public. In the 17th century, however, the Stuart sovereigns James I and Charles I attempted to use the court to suppress any opposition to their authority. The court met in secret and dealt out excessive and cruel punishment. The much-hated court was abolished by the Long Parliament in 1641. Today, the term star chamber refers to any secret or closed meeting held by a judicial or executive body.” (1)

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Notes and References

  • Information about Court of Star Chamber in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to Court of Star Chamber

    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.

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    Schema Summary

    • Article Name: Court of Star Chamber
    • Author: Danny W.
    • Description: Introduction to Court of Star Chamber Court of Star Chamber, in English history, court controlled by the monarch and so [...]

    This entry was last updated: August 24, 2014

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