Words of Interest

Discuss the difference between Common Law and the Statutory Acts made by the Powers that be, (PTB)

Words of Interest

Postby holy vehm » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:30 am

An assize trial was a trial by jury. In its most settled and enduring form 'the assizes' meant the routine of bringing royal justice to various parts of the country. Two commissioners travelled one of six circuits twice a year during the vacations of the royal courts at Westminster. The commissioners were given powers to 'hear and determine' criminal cases, try or release prisoners in gaols ('gaol delivery'), and hear civil cases that would otherwise have come to the royal courts.

Corporate towns
From late medieval times, 'incorporated' boroughs (i.e. those enjoying corporate status) were governed by municipal corporations entitled to pass by-laws, hold land and use a common seal. They could also sue and be sued. Urban government was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Acts of 1835 and 1882, which standardised regulations concerning the election of councillors and aldermen and the appointment and responsibilities of mayors.

The process of enclosing (with hedges, ditches, fences, etc.) open lands that had formerly been subject to common rights. Farmers found it difficult to introduce farming innovations on scattered strips of land subject to such rights, and larger holdings were built up over several centuries of consolidation and enclosure. Between the 1730s and 1830s enclosure was authorised by individual Acts of Parliament, as well as through the earlier formal and informal agreements of landowners. Although enclosure promoted modern farming methods, the reduction and elimination of common rights was devastating for many smallholders and wage workers.

English republic
Britain's only republican period during the past 1,000 years. Established following the execution of Charles I, it lasted until the Restoration in 1660. It included the 'Commonwealth or Free-State' declared by the Rump Parliament on 19 May 1649.

Habeas corpus
A writ ordering that a detained person be brought before a court or judge, at a specified time and place, in order to determine whether such detention is lawful. The right of any citizen to obtain the issue of such a writ is regarded as one of the most fundamental civil liberties. In England, writs beginning with the instruction 'Habeas corpus' (Latin for 'Have the body…', meaning 'You are to produce the person detained') were first issued in the 13th century. The law relating to them was formalised by the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679.

A form of contract between two or more parties. Originally, such deeds of agreement were drawn up as two or more copies on a single parchment, then cut in such a way that the matching of the pieces could be used as a test of authenticity. Contracts of service for soldiers, servants, apprentices and employees were often drawn up in the form of indentures.

A republican and democratic movement dedicated to levelling out social and political inequalities, which Oliver Cromwell and other Parliamentarians viewed with mounting concern. The Levellers' political creed, Agreement of the People (1647), found wide support among the lower classes and the soldiers of the New Model Army. The leaders of the movement, such as John Lilburne, were savagely punished by Cromwell. As a result, the Levellers effectively ceased to exist after 1649.

Rotten boroughs
Name commonly used for boroughs where the population had declined to such an extent that it was easy to gain election to Parliament by bribing or otherwise manipulating the electorate. Boroughs where the nomination of the MP or MPs was effectively in the gift of a wealthy landowner or powerful family were known as 'pocket boroughs'. Electoral anomalies and abuses of this kind were abolished by the Reform Act of 1832.

Rump Parliament
The members of the Long Parliament remaining after Pride's Purge (December 1648), in which some 140 MPs were forcibly expelled. It was the Rump that put Charles I on trial and, on 19 May 1649, declared the 'Commonwealth or Free-State'.

"A ruler who violates the law is illegitimate. He has no right to be obeyed. His commands are mere force and coercion. Rulers who act lawlessly, whose laws are unlawful, are mere criminals".
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