Common Pleas, Court of

English court of law founded in 1178 to hear civil disputes.

Under the Magna Carta (1215), it attained jurisdiction separate from the King's (Queen's) Court, though its decisions were subject to review by the latter. Beginning in the 15th century, it competed with the King's (Queen's) Court and the Court of Exchequer for common-law business. By the 19th century, the complexity of overlapping jurisdictional rules had become unbearable, and all three courts were replaced (under the Judicature Act of 1873) by the Supreme Court of Judicature, which remains the court of general jurisdiction in England and Wales.

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▪ English court
      English court of law that originated from Henry II's (Henry II) assignment in 1178 of five members of his council to hear pleas (civil disputes between individuals), as distinguished from litigation to which the crown was a party. This group of councillors did not immediately emerge as a body distinct and separate from the curia regis (“king's court”). It remained a part of that court and traveled with it until Magna Carta required that civil jurisdiction be assigned to a body convening at a designated place, at which time it settled in Westminster Hall. In 1223 the court began to maintain separate rolls, and in 1272 it acquired a chief justice.

      During the later Middle Ages, Common Pleas was the most active though not the highest of the common-law courts; it included within its jurisdiction not only almost all civil litigation but also the supervision of local and manorial courts as well. Its judgments, however, were subject to review by the Court of King's (Queen's) Bench.

      Beginning in the 15th century, Common Pleas was engaged in competition with the Court of King's Bench and the Court of Exchequer for common-law business. The result was an accumulation of many complicated and overlapping jurisdictional rules. By the 19th century the multiple form of writs and competing jurisdictions had become unbearable, and the Judicature Act of 1873 brought about a replacement of the three common-law courts, as well as the assumption of equity jurisdiction, by the Supreme Court of Judicature, which remains today as the court of general jurisdiction in England and Wales.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Common Pleas, Court of — Established by Henry II in 1178, it comprised five members of his own council (the *curia regis) specifically to hear pleas civil suits not involving the crown. However, this court was not wholly independent until *Magna Carta determined the need …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • common pleas court — See Court of Common fleas …   Ballentine's law dictionary

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  • common pleas — n: court of common pleas Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. common pleas …   Law dictionary

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  • Common pleas — Common Com mon, a. [Compar. {Commoner}; superl. {Commonest}.] [OE. commun, comon, OF. comun, F. commun, fr. L. communis; com + munis ready to be of service; cf. Skr. mi to make fast, set up, build, Goth. gamains common, G. gemein, and E. mean low …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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