Page:The Public Records and The Constitution.djvu/23
AND THE CONSTITUTION
obtained their name because they contained proceedings in actions of Assise before Justices of Assise, who were so called not because they held sittings at specified times on circuit, but because they were appointed, or assigned, to hear causes known as Assises, among which were those of Novel Disseisin, Mort d' Ancestor, and others. Their limited jurisdiction is mentioned in John's Great Charter, but was gradually extended. They, after a time, took the verdicts of juries at Nisi Prius in causes commenced in the Superior Courts, though judgement, except in certain specified cases, could be given only in the Superior Courts themselves; and by virtue of the Commissions of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery, originally given to distinct Commissioners, they acquired a great portion of the power in criminal matters once enjoyed by the Justices in Eyre. The times of their sittings also obtained exclusively the name of Assises. Historically, however, the commencement of their authority is quite different from that of the Eyre. Until the Eyres died out, the Courts of the Justices of Assise were, in relation to the Common Bench, its handmaidens, while the Court of the Eyre was its superior.
The Chancellor and his office: Original Writs: Patents, Charters and Writs Close.The Commissions and Patents to the various Justices may, perhaps, have passed under the Great Seal even at periods before we have any record of the fact. The Chancellor who had the Seal in his keeping had an office for the transaction of business (the Chancery), which becomes rich in records very soon after the time when those records of other Courts which I have just described first make their appearance. Out of this office issued the writs (technically known as Original
- When the Eyre was in any county, the jurisdiction of the Common Bench immediately ceased in that county, and the common pleas of the county were at once removed into the Court of the Eyre.