Common-Law Courts


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Common-Law Courts

The early royal courts in England that administered the law common to all.

For a time after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the king himself sat to hear cases involving royal interests and the court was called coram rege (Latin for "before the king"). When the king began delegating authority to administer justice, the tribunal he appointed was called Curia Regis, the King's Court. Out of the Curia Regis came the three royal common-law courts. The first offshoot was the Exchequer, which originally collected taxes and administered the king's finances, but by 1250 was exercising full powers as a court. Next to develop as a separate court was Common Pleas, a court probably established by henry ii during the latter half of the twelfth century to hear cases not involving the king's rights. The remaining part of the Curia Regis reviewed decisions of the Common Pleas by issuing writs of error. This court, later known as the King's Bench, also heard cases involving the king's interests, particularly criminal matters and cases involving high noblemen. For many years the work of the court was written as if proceedings before it were before the king himself. The common-law courts competed with the Chancery, which exercised Equity jurisdiction, and their struggles shifted the division of authority at various times. They were consolidated with the other high courts of England by the Judicature Acts in the late nineteenth century.

Cross-references

Law "Common-Law Courts" (Sidebar).

References in periodicals archive ?
In particular, these scholars contend that the term "in restraint of trade" was, in 1890, a legal term of art laden with meaning developed by common-law courts, including the Supreme Court itself.
Common-law courts developed a number of ways to resolve this quandary, all of which required that a defendant's conduct come very close to the completion of the intended crime.
experience, common-law court rulings formed bodies of state jurisprudence.
Advocates of the judicial takings doctrine dismiss these concerns, contending that common-law courts have no greater right than legislatures to change the rules in a way that appropriates or impermissibly burdens established private property rights.
Virtually all common-law courts determine and define duties of care and their contours, including duties of medical providers, "by reference to existing social values and customs and appropriate social policy.
Common-law courts of the time did not even permit books of account as evidence in commercial disputes.
Yet line-drawing is necessary because, in determining responsibility for negligent acts, common-law courts also must look beyond the immediate facts and take into account the larger principles at stake.
Equity courts were more likely than common-law courts to act on conscience.
This was the period that saw the triumph of the common-law courts, and indeed the emergence of the common law as a kind of traditional unwritten constitution, and Berman is especially fine in his description of the historicism that lay at the heart of the English Protestant legal theory.
This is so for a reason: The framers of the Constitution, versed in common law, spent huge amounts of energy convincing each other and the public that federal courts should not become common-law courts.