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Peace in United Kingdom

Meaning of Peace

The following is an old definition of Peace [1]: A state of quiet or tranquillity; freedom from disturbance, or agitation; calm; repose. The tranquillity enjoyed by a political society, internally by the pood order which reigns among its members, externally by the good understanding it has with other nations. 1. Good conduct, public order and decorum, within a community. “The common law hath ever had a special care and regard for the conservation of the peace; for peace is the very end and foundation of civil society.” Offenses against the public peace are: threatening, or demanding any valuable thing, by letter; affrays; riots, routs, unlawful assemblies; forcible entry and detainer; going unusually armed; spreading false news; challenges to flght; libels. All criminal offenses are against the peace, and are so laid in indictments. Articles of the peace. Complaint on oath to a magistrate of reasonable fear of harm to self or property from what another threatens; ” articles to keep the peace.” The accused gives security to appear at the next quarter sessions, and, meanwhile, to keep the peace toward all persons. He may except to the complaint for insufficiency; and, by affidavits, he may reduce the amount of bail demanded; but he cannot, by affidavit, controvert the allegations in the articles. Such articles are included within ” surety for good behavior; ” which may be required of any person suspected to be not of good fame, even of an acquitted prisoner. Bill of peace. A bill brought by a person to establish and perpetuate a right which he claims, and which, from its nature, may be controverted by different persons, at different times, and by different actions: or, where separate attempts have already been unsuccessfully made to overthrow the same right, and justice requires that the party should be quieted in the right, if it is already sufficiently established, or if it should be sufficiently established under the direction of the court. The design is to secure repose from perpetual litigation. Equity suppresses useless litigation and prevents multiplicity of suits. Compare Quia, Timet; Quiet. Breach of the peace. An act of assault or violence. A violation of public order; the offsnse of disturbing the public peace.The term, which is generic, includes unlawful assemblies, riots, affrays, forcible entry and detainer, the wanton discharge of fire-arms near a sick person, sending challenges and provoking to flght, going armed in public without lawful cause, to the alarm of the public, and other acts of a similar character. The offense is committed in the presence of an officer, though at some distance from him and in the dark, if he can detect the act, and could see the person doing it if it were light. Court of quarter sessions of the peace. See Session, Quarter Sessions. Justice of the peace. An officer originally appointed under the common law to maintain the public peace. An inferior judicial officer with jurisdiction to determine minor statutory controversies, arid to com- mit offenders on criminal complaints. Some justices have their power to maintain the peace annexed to other offices which they hold; and othersiave, or had, it merely by itself, and were thence named custodes or conservatores pacts. Those that were so virtute officii still continue; but the latter sort are superseded by the modern justices. The sovereign is the principal conservator of the peace; hence it is called the ” king’s peace.” The lord chancellor and the justices of the king’s bench (by virtue of ofSce) are general conservators of the peace, and may commit all breakers of it, or bind them to keep it: other judges are only so in their own courts. The coroner is also a conservator of the peace; and so are sheriffs and constables. Their common-law powers relate exclusively to matters affecting the public peace, and to the arrest and punishment of wrong-doers; the extent of their jurisdiction in the trial and punishment of offenders is regulated by local statutes They have no civil jurisdiction at common law. See Arrest; Behavior; Brawl; Constable; Contempt; Magistrate; Night-walkers; Paper, 6; Sheriff; Summary. 2. The reverse of war; that state in which every one quietly enjoys his rights, or, if controverted, amicably discusses them by force of argument. A peace between states lately belligerent is a return to a state of amity and intercourse, implying no intention to recommence hostilities. It implies that redress of wi-ongs has been obtained, or that the intention is renounced of seeking to obtain redress. The first agreements are called preliminaries, and a peace at this stage is a ” preliminary peace ” in contrast with the “definitive peace.” Articles of peace. The preliminary articles between Great Britain and the Amer- ican Colonies were signed November 30, 1782, and the definitive treaty at Paris, September 3, 1783.


Notes and References

  1. Concept of Peace 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)

Concept of Syb and Som

Traditional meaning of syb and som [1] in the Saxon law history: Peace and security.

Note: For more information on Saxon Law history, see here.


Notes and References

  1. Based on A concise law dictionary of words, phrases and maxims, “Syb and Som”, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1911, United States. This term is absolete. It is also called the Stimson’s Law dictionary, based on a glossary of terms, included Syb and Som.

See Also

Law is our Passion

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Peace
  • Author: K. R. Simmonds
  • Description: Meaning of Peace The following is an old definition of Peace [1]: A state of quiet or tranquillity; freedom from [...]

This entry was last updated: March 10, 2020


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