Common informer

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COMMON INFORMER. One who, without being specially required by law, or by virtue of his office, gives information of crimes, offences or misdemeanors, which have been committed, in order to prosecute the offenders; a prosecutor. Vide Informer; Prosecutor.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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Meanwhile, King and Parliament were befuddled that "subjects be daily unjustly vexed and disquieted by divers common informers upon penal statutes, notwithstanding any former statutes" (Statutes of the Realm 1993: vol.
According to my 11th edition Britannica, the common informers or delators of ancient Rome were a class of private citizens who specialized in bringing accusations against others: "They were drawn from all classes of society - patricians, knights, freedmen, slaves, philosophers, literary men, and, above all, lawyers." The right to file charges against a fellow citizen was not in itself new, but took on a new character when the state began awarding the delator a share of the property of the accused; a successful accusation of treason, for example, carried as a prize a quarter of the victim's estate.

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