Chief Justice of the Common Pleas

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John Coleridge, the last Chief Justice of the Common Pleas Lord Coleridge LCJ by EU Eddis.JPG
John Coleridge, the last Chief Justice of the Common Pleas

The chief justice of the Common Pleas was the head of the Court of Common Pleas, also known as the Common Bench or Common Place, which was the second-highest common law court in the English legal system until 1875, when it, along with the other two common law courts and the equity and probate courts, became part of the High Court of Justice. As such, the chief justice of the Common Pleas was one of the highest judicial officials in England, behind only the Lord High Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of England, who headed the Queen's Bench (King's when the monarch was male).

Contents

History

Initially, the position of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas was not an appointment; of the justices serving in the court, one would become more respected than his peers, and was therefore considered the "chief" justice.

The position was formalised in 1272, with the raising of Sir Gilbert of Preston to Chief Justice, and from then on, it was a formally-appointed role, similar to the positions of Lord Chief Justice and Chief Baron of the Exchequer. [1] When the High Court was created in 1875, each of the three common law courts became separate divisions of it, each headed by the person who had led the respective court before the merger.

When the Lord Chief Justice and Chief Baron died in 1880, the three common law divisions (Queen's Bench, Exchequer, and Common Pleas) were merged, and John Coleridge, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, became Lord Chief Justice, and the offices of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Chief Baron were abolished. [2]

Chief justices of the Common Pleas

PortraitNameTerm as Chief JusticeReason for termination [3]
Simon of Pattishall 1190–1214Died
Martin of Pattishall 1217–1229Retired
Sir Thomas of Moulton 1229–1233Resigned to travel an Eyre circuit
William de Raley 1233–1234Appointed Chief Justice of the King's Bench
Sir Thomas of Moulton 1234–1236Retired
Robert of Lexinton 1236–1244Retired
Henry of Bath 1245–1249Stripped of his position after accusations of perverting the course of justice
Roger of Thirkleby 1249–1256Replaced
Henry of Bath 1256–1258Retired
Roger of Thirkleby 1258–1260Died
Sir Gilbert of Preston 1260–1267Resigned to travel an Eyre circuit
Martin of Littlebury 1267–1272Replaced
Sir Gilbert of Preston 1272–1274Died
Roger of Seaton 1274–1278Retired
Sir Thomas Weyland 1278–1289Removed from his position and exiled
Sir Ralph Sandwich 1289–1290Resigned
John of Mettingham 1290–1301Died
Ralph de Hengham 1301–1309Retired
Sir William Bereford 1309–1326Died
Hervey de Stanton 1326Not reappointed by Edward III
Sir William Herle 1327–1329Resigned to travel an Eyre circuit
Sir John Stonor 1329–1331Not reappointed by Edward III
Sir William Herle 1331–1333Resigned to travel an Eyre circuit
Sir Henry le Scrope 1333Replaced
Sir William Herle 1333–1335Retired
Sir Sir John Stonor 1335–1341Removed
Sir Sir Roger Hillary 1341–1342Replaced
Sir Sir John Stonor 1342–1354Retired
Sir Sir Roger Hillary 1354–1356Died
Sir Robert Thorpe 1356–1371Appointed Lord Chancellor
Sir William Fyncheden 1371–1374Died
Sir Robert Bealknap 1374–1388Exiled
Sir Robert Charleton 1388–1395Died
William Thirning 1396–1413Died
Richard Norton 1413–1420Died
Sir William Babington 1423–1436Retired
Sir John Juyn 9 February 143620 January 1439Appointed Chief Justice of the King's Bench
John Cottesmore 20 January 143929 August 1439Died
Sir Richard Newton 17 September 143913 December 1448Died
Sir John Prysot 16 January 14491461Died
Sir Robert Danby 11 May 14611471Not reappointed by Edward IV
Sir Thomas Bryan 147114 August 1500Died
Sir Thomas Wode 28 October 150031 August 1502Died
Sir Thomas Frowyk 30 September 15027 October 1506Died
Sir Robert Rede 15067 January 1519Died
Sir John Ernley 27 January 151922 April 1520Died
Sir Robert Brudenell 23 April 152022 November 1530Retired
Sir Robert Norwich 22 November 1530April 1535Died
Sir John Baldwin 19 April 153524 October 1545Died
SirEdwardMontagu.jpg Sir Edward Montagu 6 November 15451553Retired
Sir Richard Morgan September 15531554Removed after going insane
Sir Robert Broke.jpg Sir Robert Broke 15546 September 1558Died
Anthony Browne 5 October 1558January 1559Appointed a justice of the Queen's Bench
Sir James Dyer from NPG.jpg Sir James Dyer January 155924 March 1582Died
Sir Edmund Anderson from NPG.jpg Sir Edmund Anderson 2 May 15821 August 1605Died
Sir Francis Gawdy August 160515 December 1605Died
Edward Coke LCJ.jpg Sir Edward Coke 30 June 160625 October 1613Appointed Chief Justice of the King's Bench
Chief Justice Sir Henry Hobart (d.1625), 1st Baronet.jpeg Sir Henry Hobart, Bt 26 November 161329 December 1625Died
Hutton pic.JPG Sir Richard Hutton December 1625November 1636Acting Chief Justice
Portrait supposedly of Sir Thomas Richardson (d.1635), Lord Chief Justice, but wrong heraldry 2.jpg Sir Thomas Richardson 22 November 1626October 1631Appointed Chief Justice of the King's Bench
Sir Robert Heath LCJ.jpg Sir Robert Heath October 163113 September 1634Dismissed
John Lord Finch after Cornelius Johnson.jpg Sir John Finch 16 October 16341640Appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal
Edward Littleton, Baron Littleton by Sir Anthony Van Dyck.jpg Sir Edward Littleton 27 January 164018 January 1641Appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal
SirJohnBankes.jpg Sir John Bankes 29 January 164128 December 1644Died
OliverStJohn cropped.jpg Oliver St John 1 October 16481660Excluded from public office following the Restoration
Orlando Bridgeman by John Riley.jpg Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Bt 22 October 1660May 1668Appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal
Sir John Vaughan.jpg Sir John Vaughan 23 May 166810 December 1674Died
Lord Guilford CJ by John Riley.jpg Sir Francis North 23 January 167520 December 1682Appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal
Sir Francis Pemberton(1624-1697).jpg Sir Francis Pemberton January 1683September 1683Dismissed
Sir Thomas Jones CJ.jpg Sir Thomas Jones 29 September 168321 April 1686Dismissed
Sir Henry Bedingfield by Robert White.jpg Sir Henry Bedingfield 21 April 16866 February 1687Died
SirRobertWright.jpg Robert Wright 13 April 168718 April 1687Exchanged with Edward Herbert for the position of Chief Justice of the King's Bench
Sir Edward Herbert 18 April 16871689Dismissed after fleeing to Ireland with James II
Henry Pollexfen.jpg Sir Henry Pollexfen 6 May 168915 June 1691Died
SirGeorgeTrebyJudge.jpg Sir George Treby 30 April 169213 December 1700Died
1stBaronTrevor.jpg Sir Thomas Trevor
(Lord Trevor from 1712)
5 July 170114 October 1714Not reappointed by George I
Peter King, 1st Baron King of Ockham by Daniel De Coning.jpg Sir Peter King 27 October 17141 June 1725Appointed Lord Chancellor
Sir Robert Eyre by John Riley.jpg Sir Robert Eyre 172528 December 1735Died
Amigoni - Portrait of Sir Thomas Reeve.jpg Sir Thomas Reeve 26 January 173619 January 1737Died
Sir John Willes by Thomas Hudson.jpg Sir John Willes 28 January 173715 December 1761Died
Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden by Sir Joshua Reynolds.jpg Sir Charles Pratt
(Lord Camden from 1765)
January 176230 July 1766Appointed Lord Chancellor
Sir John Eardley Wilmot by George Dance Yr.jpg Sir John Eardley Wilmot 20 August 176626 January 1771Resigned
Sir William de Grey January 1771June 1780Resigned
Lord Loughborough by Mather Brown.jpg The Lord Loughborough June 178028 January 1793Appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal
SirJamesEyre.jpg Sir James Eyre 11 February 17931 July 1799Died
John Scott Lord High Chancellor of England 1801-1806 by William Cowen.jpg The Lord Eldon 17 July 17991801Appointed Lord Chancellor
1stLordAlvanley.jpg The Lord Alvanley 22 May 180119 March 1804Died
Sir James Mansfield CJ.jpg Sir James Mansfield 24 April 180421 February 1814Resigned
Vicary Gibbs NPG.jpg Sir Vicary Gibbs February 1814November 1818Resigned
Sir Robert Dallas November 18181824Retired
RobertGifford.jpg The Lord Gifford 9 January 18245 April 1824Appointed Master of the Rolls
1stLordWynford.jpg Sir William Best 15 April 1824June 1829Retired
Sir Nicholas Conyngham Tindal by John Lucas.jpg Sir Nicholas Conyngham Tindal 9 June 18296 July 1846Died
Thomas Wilde, 1st Baron Truro by Thomas Youngman Gooderson.jpg Sir Thomas Wilde 6 July 184615 July 1850Appointed Lord Chancellor
Sir John Jervis (1857) engraved by George Salisbury Shury (cropped).jpg Sir John Jervis 16 July 18501 November 1856Died
Sir Alexander Cockburn LCJ by GF Watts.jpg Sir Alexander Cockburn, Bt November 185624 June 1859Appointed Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench
William Erle by Francis Grant.jpg Sir William Erle June 1859November 1866Retired
WilliamBovill1872.jpg Sir William Bovill November 18661 November 1873Died
Lord Coleridge LCJ by EU Eddis.JPG Sir John Coleridge
(Lord Coleridge from 1874)
November 187320 November 1880Court merged with the Court of Queen's Bench and the Exchequer of Pleas; became the first Lord Chief Justice of a unified Queen's Bench Division. [2]

Peerages created for the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas

Since the Act of Union 1707
Lord Chief JusticeTitleCreatedCurrent statusOther Judicial Roles
Sir Thomas Trevor Baron Trevor Extinct 9 September 1824None
Sir Peter King Baron King Extinct 31 January 2018 Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Sir Charles Pratt Earl Camden Extant Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Baron Camden
Sir William de Grey Baron Walsingham ExtantNone
Sir Alexander Wedderburn Earl of Rosslyn Extant Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Baron Loughborough Extant
Baron Loughborough Extinct 2 January 1805
Sir John Scott Earl of Eldon Extant Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Baron Eldon
Sir Richard Arden Baron Alvanley Extinct 24 June 1857 Master of the Rolls
Sir Robert Gifford Baron Gifford Extant Master of the Rolls
Sir William Best Baron Wynford ExtantNone
Sir Thomas Wilde Baron Truro Extinct 8 March 1899 Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Sir John Coleridge Baron Coleridge Extant Lord Chief Justice of England

Legacy

The Wetherspoon pub in Keswick, Cumbria is named "The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas".

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References

  1. Kiralfy, p. 121
  2. 1 2 Lord Mackay of Clashfern (ed.) (2002) Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed. Vol.10 (Reissue), "Courts", 603 'Divisions of the High Court'
  3. "Oxford DNB theme:Chief Justices of the Common Pleas (subscription needed)" . Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/93045 . Retrieved 2008-10-21.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

Bibliography