Curia Regis


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Curia Regis

[Latin, The King's Court.]The Anglo-Saxon kings of England regularly summoned the bishops and great men of the kingdom to a council (Witenagemot), which advised the king and occasionally served as a court of justice. Building upon this foundation, the Norman kings after the Conquest in 1066 developed more effective ways of centralizing royal government. By the end of the eleventh century the king was entrusting business to his Curia, a body of officials appointed from the ranks of the highest noblemen, church leaders, and officers of the royal court. With the king, the Curia Regis administered all of the king's business—financial, legislative, and judicial. From the Curia Regis developed the common-law courts, the Chancery, and even the Parliament.

CURIA REGIS. An English court, which assumed this name, during the reign of Henry II. It was Curia or Aula Regis, because it was held in the great hall of the king's palace; and where the king, for some time, administered justice in person. But afterwards, the judicial power was more properly entrusted to the king's judges. The judges who sat in this court were distinguished by the name of justices, or justiciaries. Besides these, the chief justiciary, the stewart of all England, the chancellor, the chamberlain, and the treasurer, also took part in the judicial proceedings of this court.

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The Curia Regis nonetheless evolved and grew as new groups gained political powers and as kings sought nonviolent ways to exchange privileges and rights with these groups for their payments and support.