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But London and Middlesex are excluded from the operations of the stat. by sect. 2.*

If the feast day fall on Sunday, the Sessions shall be from the gene- holden in the week following, and not the same week. †

ral rule.

In Middlesex.


But in point of fact, the Quarter Sessions are variously holden in several counties, some on one day, some on another; and they are all equally good, for the stat. of Hen. 5. is only directory, and in the affirmative, and, therefore, if they be only holden according to the general directions of the stat. of Rich. 2. they will be valid. ‡

In Middlesex it is provided by statute specially, that Sessions shall be holden twice in the year at least, and oftener if need be; §-and in fact, from the necessity of the case, they are actually holden eight times in the year. ||

The jurisdiction and authority of the Court of General and authority Quarter Sessions makes the subject of a separate chapter General Quar- hereafter, and, therefore, it is sufficient here merely to


ter Sessions.

The Sessions for the county of Middlesex, and those in the cities of London and Westminster, are governed by regulations in many respects differing from those which prevail in other parts of the kingdom. Besides an obsolete stat. of Hen. 6. (to be hereinafter noticed respecting the limitation as to number of Sessions to be holden annually for the county of Middlesex), it is to be observed, that, in point of fact, there are four General Sessions as well as four General Quarter Sessions holden periodically; but the latter are not holden precisely at the same time as in other counties, but as near thereto as convenient; and the former as nearly as possible to the middle of the intervening periods; but both have equal jurisdiction to take and try indictments, except in cases specially provided against by statute (2 Black. Rep. 1051). In Middlesex also the justices have a Commission of Oyer and Terminer. Although the city and liberty of Westminster have a separate Commission from the county of Middlesex, yet indictments for offences committed within such city and liberty, are within the cognizance of the Session of the Peace for the county of Middlesex; and if a party be bound by recognizance to prefer a bill of indictment, and prosecute for an offence at the next Session of the Peace, to be holden for the city and liberty of Westminster, and such party so bound do in fact prefer a bill for the offence at the next Session for the county of Middlesex, it is holden to be in compliance with the terms of the recognizance.

+ 2 Hale 49.

↑ Id. 50.

2 Hale, 49, 50.—2 Black. R. 1051.

§ 14 Hen. 6. c. 4.

observe, that by 34 Edw. 3. c. 1. it extends to the trying and determining all felonies and trespasses whatsoever. This general power however, is to be understood with limitation, especially, that it does not extend to the trial of new offences erected by act of parliament, unless the particular statute which makes or declares the offence, gives the cognizance of it to the justices in session,* either directly, or by necessary inference.

The subjects which have been made especially cognizable in this way, are, generally, such as relate to apprentices, the game, highways, publicans, the settlement and provision of the poor, servants, and vagrants.

If it happen on the day appointed for holding the Justices not Session, that a sufficient number of justices (two, one appearing. whereof is of the quorum) do not appear, it is usual to

But if public issued to the

suffer the Session for that quarter to be lost.
convenience require it, a precept may, be
sheriff to convene a Session under the hands and seals of
two justices, one being of the quorum, and to return a
jury; and if such Session be within that quarter, that is to
say, previous to the day for the succeeding quarterly
Session pointed out by the stat. of Hen. 5. it will be a
good Quarter Session, for that quarter in which the
previous Session was lost. +

This point may occasionally be of considerable importance; because, although for many purposes a General Session

Salk. 406.-Ld. Raym. 1144.

+ 2 Hawk. c. 8.-But though the stat. of Hen. 5. as has been already observed, after directing the specific periods at which the four Quarter Sessions shall be holden, proceed to say, that they shall be holden "oftener if need be," it does not mean to direct that more than one original Quarter Session shall be within one quarter; but merely that, after being summoned and actually holden, if the occasions of the county, or other district, require it, that Session shall be adjourned from time to time, as such occasion may render convenient, and that these adjournments are what the words " or oftener if need be" refer to. This decision does not interfere with what has just been laid down, viz. that if, for any cause, the first summoned regular Quarter Session be not actually holden, another original Quarter Session may be summoned within that Quarter, which will be good, as well as any adjourn



for more than one day.

might be sufficient, where any act is directed to be done at a GENERAL QUARTER Session, the formalities incident to that particular species of Session may be necessary to be observed. This case may not unfrequently happen respecting appeals given by divers statutes, which are generally directed to be to the next Quarter Sessions of the Peace. In such case a General Session, which was not also a Quarter Session, could not entertain them.*

Whenever holden, the whole Session, although it may continue two, or more, days, is, in point of law, considered as of one day. Hence it follows that the justices may change Orders may be their opinions at any time while such Session continues, and may alter their orders. †


Business not concluded.

But if, from the justices being equally divided, or other cause, no conclusion be come to, and no adjournment take place, no order on any thing that may have come before them, can be made at a subsequent Sessions.

ments of it. Under this explanation, the following cases are compatible with the doctrine laid down by Hawkins, and lead to the conclusions here drawn.

Hil. Term. 20 Geo. 2. appeal was made to the Quarter Session, held April 7, against an order of removal. The Session was adjourned to April 9, when for want of a sufficient number of justices nothing was done. April 11th, a Session was held, and adjourned to the 14th, when the appeal was allowed. It was moved to quash the order of Session, as made without jurisdiction, the Session ending for want of an adjournment on the 9th; and of that opinion was the Court, for the words in stat. 2. Hen. 5. c. 4. and more often if need be, wete never considered as giving more than one original Session in a quarter, but only empowering adjournments. The country must take notice of adjournments, but are not supposed to expect a new Session till the usual time. Order of Session quashed. 2 Str. 1263.

So in the case of R. v. West Torrington, Tr. 22 & 23 Geo. 2. the Session was held at Kirton, and from thence adjourned to Caistor, at which place no Session was held pursuant to the said adjournment ;afterwards a Session was held at Horncastle; and the appeal was heard and determined there. BY THE COURT. The Session at Horncastle could not take up the appeal for want of jurisdiction: a Quarter-Session must be holden four times in a year, as directed by statute; and it may be adjourned from time to time, and from place to place; but if it is once dropped, it cannot be resumed. Burr. S. C. 293.

* 15 E. R. 632.

† 2 Salk. 666.

12 Bott. 713.

Wherefore, in the event of an equal division of the

justices, it is proper for the clerk of the peace to enter an Adjournments. adjournment.*


The justices who issue the precept to convene a Quarter The places Session, may name any place within the county, division, where to be riding, or liberty, for which it is summoned, as that where it is to be holden, according to their discretion; and thither all officers and suitors of the court will be bound to give their attendance. +

In counties, wherein the situation of the chief town is not central, or the population is very unequally distributed in the different parts, the greatest portion being at a distance from the county town, it is usual, as it is both lawful and expedient, to hold the Sessions successively at two or more of the principal places within the county, where proper accommodations for the purpose are to be obtained. In other counties, where similar circumstances exist, it is usual to adjourn every Session from one quarter of the county to another.


County of.... {of

S We A. B. and C. D. Esqs., two of the justices of our Sovereign Lord the King assigned to keep the peace in the county of.. aforesaid, and also to hear and determine divers felonies, trespasses, and other misdemeanors committed in the same county, one of us being of the quorum, to the sheriff of the same county, greeting: On the behalf of our said Sovereign Lord the King, we command you, that you omit not, by reason of any liberty within your county, but that you enter therein, and that you cause to come before us, or some other justices assigned to keep the peace in the said county, and also to hear and determine divers felonies, trespasses, and other misdemeanors in the said county committed, on the ...... day of........ now next ensuing, at the hour of . in the forenoon of the same day,

2 Bott. 713.

Imp. Off. Sher. 3d edit. 252.

+ Lamb. b. 4. c. 2.-Dalt. 185.

§ If there be a Liberty, or other Franchise in the County, possessing an exclusive jurisdiction, that is to say, a jurisdiction in which the justices of the county at large are prohibited from interfering, it will be proper, as it is usual, to add in this place, (except the liberty of within the same). 4 Chit, C, L. 176,


in the said county, twenty and four good and lawful men of the body of the county aforesaid, then and there to enquire, present, do, and perform, all and singular such things, which on the behalf of our said Sovereign Lord the King, shall be enjoined to them;-also that you make known to all coroners, keepers of gaols, and houses of correction, high constables and bailiffs of liberties, within the county aforesaid, that they may be then and there to do and fulfil the things which, by reason of their offices, shall be to be done. Moreover, that you cause to be proclaimed through the said county in proper places the aforesaid Session of the Peace, to be holden at the day and place aforesaid, and do you be then there, to do and execute those things which belong to your office. And have you then and there as well the names of the jurors, coroners, keepers of gaols, and houses of correction, high-constables and bailiffs, aforesaid, as also this precept.

Given under our hands and seals at county aforesaid, the ...

year of the reign of.



day of .....

in the

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in the

When the sheriff shall have received this precept, it becomes his duty to direct several warrants to the bailiffs of liberties and hundreds, containing the substance of it in the following form.

P. Q. Esquire, sheriff of the county aforeCounty of.... {said, to G. H. Bailiff of the hundred of...

in the said county greeting: By virtue of a precept under the hands and seals of A. B. and C. D. Esquires, two of his Majesty's justices, appointed to keep the peace in the said county; and also to hear and determine divers felonies, trespasses, and other misdemeanors, committed in my said county, one of them being of the quorum, to me directed.

These are in his Majesty's name to will and require you, that you forthwith make known by open proclamation, in every market town, and all other places convenient within the hundred of ... aforesaid, that the next General Quarter Session of the peace of, and for, the county aforesaid is to be holden and kept at...... in the town of ...... in the county aforesaid, on Wednesday, the...... day of. now next ensuing, at the hour of nine of the clock in the forenoon of the same day; and that you give notice to all justices of the peace, coroners, keepers of gaols, and houses of correction, and high constables of the said hundred, that they be then and there present, to do and perform that which to their several offices doth appertain: And that all those who ought to prosecute any prisoner or prisoners in the gaol of the said county, or who are bound over then to appear and answer, be then and there present, to prosecute against them according to law: And also that you summon and warn the persons whose names are underwritten, that they be then,

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