King's bench


Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

KING'S BENCH. The name of the supreme court of law in England. It is so called because formerly the king used to sit there in person, the style of the court being still coram ipso rege, before the king himself. During the reign of a queen, it is called the Queen's Bench, and during the protectorate of Cromwell, it was called the Upper Bench. It consists of a chief justices and three other judges, who are, by their office, the principal coroners and conservators of the peace. 3 Bl. Com. 41.
     2. This court has jurisdiction in criminal matters, in civil causes, and is a supervisory tribunal to keep other jurisdictions within their proper bounds.
     3.-1. Its criminal jurisdiction extends over all offenders, and not only over an capital offences but also over another misdemeanors of a public nature; it being considered the custos morum of the realm. Its jurisdiction is so universal that an act of parliament appointing that all crimes of a certain denomination shall be tried before certain judges, does not exclude the jurisdiction of this court, without negative words. It may also proceed on indictments removed into that court out of the inferior courts by certiorari.
     4.-2. Its civil jurisdiction is against the officers or ministers of the court entitled to its privilege. 2 Inst. 23; 4 Inst. 71; 2 Bulst. 123. And against prisoners for trespasses. In these last cases a declaration may be filed against them in debt, covenant or account: and this is done also upon the notion of a privilege, because the common pleas could not obtain or procure the prisoners of the king's bench to appear in their court.
     5.-3. Its supervisory powers extend, 1. To issuing writs of error to inferior jurisdictions, and affirming or reversing their judgments. 2. To issuing writs of mandamus to compel inferior officers and courts to perform the duties required of them by law. Bac. Ab. Court of King's Bench.

References in classic literature ?
Besides the notices on the gates of the Fleet and the King's Bench, many similar announcements were left, before one o'clock at noon, at the houses of private individuals; and further, the mob proclaimed their intention of seizing on the Bank, the Mint, the Arsenal at Woolwich, and the Royal Palaces.
Micawber's difficulties came to a crisis, and he was arrested early one morning, and carried over to the King's Bench Prison in the Borough.
The place to which Mr Cheeryble had directed him was a row of mean and not over-cleanly houses, situated within 'the Rules' of the King's Bench Prison, and not many hundred paces distant from the obelisk in St George's Fields.
Secondly, the struggles of 1616 were of different sorts, some specifically between King's Bench and king concerning the royal prerogative, some between King's Bench and Chancery concerning the jurisdiction of courts.
King's Bench was increasingly sought out to adjudicate contested elections.
200 YEARS AGO: Yesterday the Earl of Thanet and Mr Fergusson attended the Court of King's Bench, in expectation of receiving sentence for the attempt to rescue O'Connor at Maidstone, of which they had been found guilty on a trial at Bar.
He was an able administrator in the King's Bench Division and during his period of office able judges were appointed.
The two men held similar offices, with Coke serving first as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and then of the King's Bench, posts that Bacon also held.
The oft-quoted aphorism "Not only must justice be done; it must also manifestly and undoubtedly seen to be done" is one of the fundamental canons of law as observed by Lord Chief Justice Hewart at the King's Bench division in 'R v Sussex Justices, ex p McCarty'.
His father-in-law, Sir David Hanmer, of Flintshire - a Chief Justice on the King's Bench - taught Glyndwr about law and parliament.
"Picton's governorship of Trinidad was authoritarian and brutal and led to his trial at the King's Bench in 1806 accused of ordering the judicial torture of Louisa Calderon.