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Court of Common Pleas

A short description from John A. Wagner’s Bosworth Field to Bloody Mary: An Encyclopedia of the Early Tudors is: “The Court of Common Pleas was the oldest, busiest, and slowest of the Tudor courts of common law.”

The Court of Common Pleas grew was established under Henry II and was part of the curia regis, or King’s Court. After Magna Carta in 1215, it was based in Westminster Hall and it started keeping its own separate records in 1223. It gained a chief justice in 1272. The court was tasked with hearing the cases of civil disputes between individuals including, but certainly not limited to, matters of property, land, and money. The court could also hear appeals from lower courts. In the Tudor period, the court gained some competition for jurisdiction from other courts such as Chancery and the Star Chamber.

The court was combined into a larger justice system in the United Kingdom in the 19th century, but the term is still used for a few courts of law in some states in the US.