Court of Common Pleas

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The Court of Common Pleas was in charge of matters pertaining to the normal citizen, normal common men. Much like the Court of Exchequer, however, a claimant needed a writ instrument in order to bring proceedings. The Court of Common Pleas primarily took place or to set the stage at somewhere around the 13th century.

Initially prior to the time of Edward I, this Court tended to move quite significantly around the country, but later on became settled as part of the centralization in Westminster. The primary reason why a movable court became centralized in Westminster was because there were several complaints that were forwarded on the uncertainties in terms of litigation accredited to traveling, this might be as simple as the fact that judges who were moving from place to place, got sick. Therefore, there were delays in place to others where intimidation took places. One of the major hallmarks of this particular period in relation to the 12th & 13th century of the justice or court structure of the united kingdom of England was the notion that it was quite haphazard. It’s not as steadfast as it is today and there were a lot of piecemeal decisions taken in order to mitigate any uncertainties or other mitigate any discrepancies that the king might have later on.

The Magna Carta is a fundamentally important piece of document that created sweeping changes in jurisprudence as well as court procedure and structure. Clause 17 of the Magna Carta ostensibly created two specific benches. On the one hand, Magna Carta created King’s Bench overseeing criminal jurisdiction from somewhere around the fourteenth century. On the other hand, it created Common Pleas which established the civil jurisdiction and settled in the fourteenth century.

Now, the importance of the Magna Carta Clause 17 and these two particular courts is that it expressly prohibited the King’s Bench from hearing matters not of concern to the king. In other words, the whole purpose was that the King’s Bench was to only have a criminal jurisdiction. We see here a shift, almost a tectonic shift from a centralized, somewhat regimental control that one individual had, in other words, the king, to what seemed like delegation but more often than not, is considered a very democratic and fair use of the Court structure. We see, historically where most, if not all, decisions will either take, by the king himself, or his right hand man, the Lord Chancellor, and then slowly becoming delegated, primarily due to the logistical aspects of Court Infrastructure, but having a byproduct of fairness coming in as well. However, this restriction was only in one sense, so the Common Pleas initially heard both criminal matters as well. We see this settlement of King’s Bench and common pleas quite later on but once that happened, and ones that established itself, we see those as evolving to what we see today as the Court structure of the United Kingdom.

The Court of Common Pleas was in charge of matters pertaining to the normal citizen, normal common men. Much like the Court of Exchequer, however, a claimant needed a writ instrument in order to bring proceedings. The Court of Common Pleas primarily took place or to set the stage at somewhere around the 13th century.

Initially prior to the time of Edward I, this Court tended to move quite significantly around the country, but later on became settled as part of the centralization in Westminster. The primary reason why a movable court became centralized in Westminster was because there were several complaints that were forwarded on the uncertainties in terms of litigation accredited to traveling, this might be as simple as the fact that judges who were moving from place to place, got sick. Therefore, there were delays in place to others where intimidation took places. One of the major hallmarks of this particular period in relation to the 12th & 13th century of the justice or court structure of the united kingdom of England was the notion that it was quite haphazard. It’s not as steadfast as it is today and there were a lot of piecemeal decisions taken in order to mitigate any uncertainties or other mitigate any discrepancies that the king might have later on.

The Magna Carta is a fundamentally important piece of document that created sweeping changes in jurisprudence as well as court procedure and structure. Clause 17 of the Magna Carta ostensibly created two specific benches. On the one hand, Magna Carta created King’s Bench overseeing criminal jurisdiction from somewhere around the fourteenth century. On the other hand, it created Common Pleas which established the civil jurisdiction and settled in the fourteenth century.

Now, the importance of the Magna Carta Clause 17 and these two particular courts is that it expressly prohibited the King’s Bench from hearing matters not of concern to the king. In other words, the whole purpose was that the King’s Bench was to only have a criminal jurisdiction. We see here a shift, almost a tectonic shift from a centralized, somewhat regimental control that one individual had, in other words, the king, to what seemed like delegation but more often than not, is considered a very democratic and fair use of the Court structure. We see, historically where most, if not all, decisions will either take, by the king himself, or his right hand man, the Lord Chancellor, and then slowly becoming delegated, primarily due to the logistical aspects of Court Infrastructure, but having a byproduct of fairness coming in as well. However, this restriction was only in one sense, so the Common Pleas initially heard both criminal matters as well. We see this settlement of King’s Bench and common pleas quite later on but once that happened, and ones that established itself, we see those as evolving to what we see today as the Court structure of the United Kingdom.