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[During the progress of the preceding pages through the press, a statute has been enacted (60 Geo. 3. c. 4.) which has effected considerable alteration in the law respecting Traverses. See ante, p. 110.]
It recites that, great delays have occurred in the administration of justice, in cases of persons prosecuted for misdemeanors by indictment or information in his Majesty's courts of King's Bench at Westminster and Dublin, and by indictment at the sessions of the peace, sessions of oyer and terminer, great sessions, and sessions of gaol delivery, in that part of Great Britain called England, and in Ireland respectively, by reason that the defendants in some of the said cases have, according to the present practice of such respective courts, an opportunity of postponing their trials to a distant period, by means of imparlances in the said several courts of King's Bench, and by time being given to try in such respective courts of session; and for remedy thereof enacts, that from and after the passing of this act, (24th Dec. Persons prose1819,) where any person shall be prosecuted in his Ma- cuted in the court of King's jesty's court of King's Bench at Westminster, or in his Bench for misMajesty's court of King's Bench in Dublin respectively, pearing in for any misdemeanor, either by information or by indict- court, not perment there found or removed into the same respective parle. courts, and shall appear in term time in either of the said courts respectively in person, to answer to such indictment or information, such defendant upon being charged therewith shall not be permitted to imparle to a following term, but shall be required to plead or demur thereto within four days from the time of his or her appearance; and in default thereof, judgment may be entered against the de- Judgment may fendant for want of a plea; and in case such defendant be entered for appear by his or her clerk or attorney in court, it shall not be lawful for such defendant to imparle to a following term, but a rule requiring such defendant to plead may forthwith be given, and a plea or demurrer to such indictment or information enforced, or judgment by de
mitted to im
want of plea.
Court may al
low further time to plead.
Persons in custody for misdemeanors, or held to bail, within 20 days
plead to indictment, unless a
rari be de
fault entered thereupon, in the same manner as might have been done, before the passing of this act, in cases where the defendant had appeared to such indictment or information by his or her clerk in court or attorney in a previous Term. Provided always, that it shall be lawful for the said respective courts, or for any judge of the same respectively, upon sufficient cause shewn for that purpose, to allow further time for such defendant to plead or demur to such indictment or information. § 1 & 2.
Secondly, That where any person shall be prosecuted for any misdemeanor by indictment at any session of the peace, session of oyer and terminer, great session, or sesbefore the session of gaol delivery within that part of Great Britain called England, or in Ireland, having been committed to custody, or held to bail to appear to answer for such offence writ of certio- twenty days at the least before the session at which such indictment shall be found, he or she shall plead to such indictment, and trial shall proceed thereupon at such same session of the peace, session of oyer and terminer, great session, or session of gaol delivery respectively, unless a writ of certiorari for removing such indictment into his Majesty's courts of King's Bench at Westminster or in Dublin respectively, shall be delivered at such session before the jury shall be sworn for such trial. And such writ of certiorari may be applied for and issued before such indictment has been found, in the like cases, in the same manner, and upon the same terms and conditions, as if such writ of certiorari had been applied for after such indictment had been found. § 3 & 4.
be issued before or after indictment is found.
In what cases
ments may be
Where any person shall be prosecuted for any misdemeanor by indictment at any session of the peace, session tried at subse of oyer and terminer, great session, or session of gaol delivery within that part of Great Britain called England, or in Ireland, not having been committed to custody or held to hail to appear to answer for such offence twenty days before the session at which such indictment shall be found, but who shall have been committed to custody or held to bail to appear to answer for such offence at some subsequent session, or shall have received notice of such indictment
having been found twenty days before such subsequent session, he or she shall plead to such indictment at such subsequent session, and trial shall proceed thereupon at such same session of the peace, session of oyer and terminer, great session, or session of gaol delivery respectively, unless a writ of certiorari for removing such indictment, &c. shall be delivered at such last-mentioned session before the
jury shall be sworn for such trial, any law or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.
indictments found by a
town from be
Provided always, that nothing in this act contained shall Not to prevent extend or be construed to extend to prevent any indictment, found by a grand jury of any city or town corporate, grand jury of from being removed, at the prayer of any defendant, for any city or trial by a jury of the county next adjoining to the county ing removed to an adjoining of such city or town corporate, pursuant to the provisions county to be of an act passed in the thirty-eighth year of his present tried, 38 Geo.3. Majesty's reign, to regulate the trial of causes, indictments, and other proceedings, which arise within the counties of certain cities and towns corporate within this kingdom; and upon such removal, the defendant shall plead, and the trial shall be had according to the provisions of this act, in like manner as if such indictment had been originally found by a grand jury of such next adjoining county.
Provided also, that it shall be lawful for the court, at Court may, on any session of the peace, session of oyer and terminer, shewn, allow great session, or session of gaol delivery respectively, upon further time for pleading, &c. sufficient cause shewn for that purpose, to allow further time for pleading to any such indictment, or for trial of the same. § 6 & 7.
attorney or so
formation or in
In all cases of prosecutions for misdemeanors, instituted In prosecuby his Majesty's attorney or solicitor general, in any of the tions by the courts aforesaid, the court shall, if required, make order licitor general, that a copy of the information or indictment shall be de- copy of the inlivered, after appearance, to the party prosecuted, or his dictment to be clerk in court or attorney, upon application made for the the party. same, free from all expence to the party so applying; provided that such party, or his clerk in court or attorney, shall not have previously received a copy thereof. § 8.
In case such prosecution is not brought to trial within twelve calendar months,
make an order thereon.
Not to extend to quo war
ranto actions, &c.
Provided that in case any prosecution for a misdemeanor instituted by his Majesty's attorney or solicitor general in any of the courts aforesaid, shall not be brought to trial within twelve calendar months next after the plea of not guil ty shall have been pleaded therein, it shall be lawful for the court in which such prosecution shall be depending, upon application to be made on the behalf of any defendant in such prosecution, of which application twenty days' previous notice shall have been given to his Majesty's attorney or solicitor general, to make an order, if the said court shall see just cause so to do, authorizing such defendant to bring on the trial in such prosecution; and it shall thereupon be lawful for such defendant to bring on such trial accordingly, unless a nolle prosequi shall have been entered in such prosecution. § 9.
But nothing in this act contained shall extend or be construed to extend to any prosecution by information in nature of a quo warranto, or for the non-repair of any bridge, or highway.
THE PRINCIPAL CIVIL BUSINESS OF SESSIONS.
Of those matters of which the Justices in Session have an original Jurisdiction, as well as those which come before them by way of Appeal; viz. Apprenticeships, Bastardies, Articles of the Peace, Vagrants, Convictions, &c. &c.
THE last preceding chapter having been dedicated to the consideration of the criminal business of the court of session; or, in other words, to those matters which are brought under its cognizance, with the intervention of a jury; those which, by way of contradistinction, have been denominated civil, (meaning by that term such as are referred immediately to the exclusive jurisdiction and judgment of the justices, without such intervention of a jury), are the subjects of this.
The order of arrangement, in which the matters are to be here treated, must be arbitrary, because that, in which they are actually presented to the several courts of session, are so; the convenience of different places where sessions are holden being influenced by a great variety of local circumstances in the distribution of their business. Apprenticeships are placed first.
There have been divers statutes enacted on the subject of disputes between apprentices and their masters; which give an ultimate jurisdiction to sessions, by appeal from the judgments of individual justices. Those however more properly belong to another part of this work, which treats specifically of appeals. What is proposed to be offered in this place is confined to the original jurisdiction of courts of session over the subject by the statute of Queen Elizabeth.*
* 5 Eliz. C. 4