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By a Society of GENTLEMEN of the MIDDLE TEMPLE.

LONDON:

Printed by W. STRAHAN, and M. WOODFALL, Law-Printers

to the King's Most Excellent Majesty ;

And Sold by, G. KE ARSLY, at No. 46, opposite Fetter-Lane in Fleet-

Street; W. FLEX N EY, opposite Gray's Inn Gate in Holborn. 1773.

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THE

Prađice of the Court of king's Bench.

Origin and Jurisdiction of the Court.

O

UT of this court all the other courts of law were originally

formed. In the time of the Saxons and Danes our Kings held

a court of justice, wherein they used to fit in person, but as petitions and appeals became numerous and burthensome to the Prince, it was found necessary to appoint some person to administer justice to the subject, in whom the whole power not only of the Chief Justice of the King's Bench, but likewise of the Common Pleas and Exchequer centered, till the reign of Richard II, who constituted two other justices, one of the north, and the other of the south part of England, notwithstanding which, the original justice continued to bear the stile of Chief Yuffice of England.

The court wherein he sat was part of the King's palace, and was by stat. 28th Edward I. to follow the King. Here all differences between the barons and other great men of the kingdom were heard and determined, and all causes, as well concerning Common Pleas, as Pleas of the Crown; but matters of an inferior nature becween subject and subject were usually determined in the county and hundred courts.

The Common Pleas being revered from the Court of King's Bench, by the great charter granted by Henry III. became the business of a diftinct court; and in consequence thereof the stile of Chief Justice of England was, altered to that of Chief Justice of our Court held before us.

The courts being thus separated, the King's Bench was now exercised in criminal matters and Pleas of the Crowli. However, notwith. ftanding this statute, as the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas was founded on original writ out of Chancery, and it soon acquired a multiplicity of business, and great profis, this court, in order to hold plea of civil actions, also claimed a right to hold pleas of actions of Trespass on the Case by the like original writ, made returnable cherein, all trespass being against the peace. In order to take cognizance of debt, in time it became the practice of the court to file a bill against the defendant, suggesting him to be already in the custody of the marthal of the King's houshold, whereby the plaintiff had liberty to de.

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