On, let me pierce the secret shade
Where Justice dwells-time-honoured maid !
There humbly mark, with rev’rend awe,
The guardian of Britannia's law.”


Q. What is meant by the Judicial department of the Constitution ?

A. That part of it which relates to the administering of justice by judges.

Q. Where is justice thus administered ?
A. In rooms or chambers called Courts of Justice.

Q. Is there any leading distinction between Courts of Justice ?

A. Yes; there are Courts of Common Law in which the common law is administered, and Courts of Equity, where the rigid rules of the common law are modified.

"Equity," writes the eminent Christopher St. Germain, "is a right wiseness that considereth all the particular circumstances of the deed, the which also is tempered with the sweetness of mercy.

Q. What kind of actions are brought in the Courts of Common Law ?

A. Actions between man and man to establish rights and redress wrongs.

Q. How many persons must there be in an action ?

A. Three at least—the plaintiff, who complains of an injury done; the defendant, who is called upon to make satisfaction for it; and the judicial power, who is to apply the remedy.

Q. Who are the usual assistants in the higher Courts of Justice ?

A. Attorneys and Counsel or Advocates.
Q. Who are Attorneys-at-law ?

A. Persons who are put in the place, stead, or turn of others, to manage their matters of law for them.

Q. Who are Counsel or Advocates ?

A. Those who plead or argue for the parties in dispute. They are either serjeants-at-law or barristers-at-law.

B. Who are Her Majesty's two special Counsel ?

A. The Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General of England, who cannot be employed in any cause against her without license.

Q. Name the three superior Courts of Common Law.

A. The Courts of Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer.

Q. What is the jurisdiction of the Court of Queen's Bench ?

A. Its jurisdiction is very high and transcendent. Being the Supreme Court of Common Law in the realm, it keeps all inferior jurisdictions within the bounds of their authority. It also superintends the doings of the magistrates, and regulates all civil corporations in the kingdom.

Q. Is there another Court attached to the Queen's Bench ?

A. Yes, the Bail Court, which is instituted for the hearing and determining of ordinary matters of practice,

Q. Who presides in the Court of Queen's Bench?

A. The Lord Chief Justice of England, assisted by four judges.

Q. What is the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas?

A. This Court decides all actions between subjects in which the Queen is not the plaintiff. It is presided over by the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and four judges.

Q. What is the jurisdiction of the Court of Exchequer ?

A. This Court hears and determines all cases which concern the public revenue. It is presided over by the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer and four Barons.

Q. Is there now much practical difference between the powers and jurisdictions of these Courts ?

A. No; as a general rule, a person is entitled to bring an action in whichever court he chooses.

Q. Where and when are these Courts held ?

A. They are held in London during the several Terms called Hilary, Easter, Trinity, and Michaelmas.

Hilary Term begins on 11th and ends on 31st of January; Easter Term begins on 15th April and ends on 8th May; Trinity Term begins on 22nd May and ends on 12th June; and Michaelmas Term begins on 2nd and ends on 25th November.

Q. Are questions of law and matters of fact tried in a different manner ?

A. Yes; questions of law are tried by the judges sitting in banco or in Chambers; but matters of fact are tried before a jury in open Court. .

Q. What is a Jury ?

A. A company of men, usually twelve in number, who are sworn to deliver a verdict, either for the plaintiff or defendant, after hearing such evidence of facts as shall be furnished touching the matter in question.

In the County Courts the jury are only five in number; but a jury is only made use of on special occasions in these Courts.

Q. Must a juror possess any pecuniary qualification ?

A. Yes; he must possess a small amount of property, and must be between twenty-one and sixty years of age.

Q. How many kinds of Juries are there for the trial of civil causes ?

A. Two, Common Juries and Special Juries.
Q. What is the distinction between them?

A. A Special Jury is a jury consisting of persons who in addition to the ordinary qualifications, are of a certain station in society, as bankers, merchants, or esquires.

Q. When are Special Juries required ?

A. In cases of difficulty or nicety, when it is desirable to obtain the assistance of men of higher attainments than are usually found in common juries.

Q. What is meant by “Embracery”?

A. An attempt to influence a juror corruptly by promises, entreaties, money, entertainments, or the like. The punishment for the person embracing, as also for the juror embraced, is fine and imprisonment.

Q. Can jurors be punished for their verdict ? 1.. No; the jurors are the only judges of the facts of the case; they cannot therefore be punished, even if their verdict be apparently contrary to the evidence.

Q. Is there any relief against the verdict or decision of a jury?

A. Yes; in some cases the verdict can be set aside and a new trial granted.

Q. Is there any appeal from the decision of any of the judges of the Superior Courts of Common Law, on a point of law ?

A. Yes; an appeal lies to the Court of Exchequer Chamber, a tribunal consisting of the judges of the two other Superior Courts which were not concerned in the judgment supposed to be erroneous.

Q. Is there a higher tribunal of appeal than the Court of Exchequer Chamber?

A. Yes; the House of Lords is the highest Court of Appeal in the realm.

Q. Are there any inferior Courts of Common Law ?

A. Yes, there are Courts Baron, which are incident to all manors and holden by the steward within the

There are also Hundred Courts, which are larger than Courts Baron, and holden for all the inhabitants of a hundred instead of a manor; and there are County Courts or local tribunals for the trial of suits of small importance; and there are also Courts of Assize and Nisi Prius.

Q. What are Courts of Assize and Nisi Prius?

A. Courts held twice a year by the judges of the Superior Courts of Common Law, who are sent, by special commission from the Crown, on circuits all round the kingdom, to try cases by a jury of the respective counties.


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