Sir John Jervis, PC (12 January 1802 – 1 November 1856) was an English lawyer, law reformer and Attorney General in the administration of Lord John Russell. He subsequently became a judge and enjoyed a career as a robust but intelligent and innovative jurist, a career cut short by his early and sudden death.
The son of Thomas Jervis, he was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, though he did not graduate,apparently preferring to take a commission as an officer in the British Army. However, after two years he returned to study law being called to the bar by the Middle Temple in 1824. Jervis followed his father onto the Oxford circuit and the Chester and north Wales circuit and built a substantial practice, being appointed a postman of the Court of Exchequer. He was offered the distinction of Queen's Counsel in 1837 but, aspiring to a political career, he declined, managing to obtain a patent of precedence instead.
Between 1826 and 1832, Jervis collaborated in law reporting with Charles John Crompton ( Crompton & Jervis ) and was also the co-reporter in Younge & Jervis . Jervis's Office and Duties of Coroners (1829) remains the leading practitioners' text on coroners and inquests with a 13th edition due in late 2007. He undertook a major rewrite of Archbold Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice to produce the 4th edition (1831) and went on to edit the 5th to 8th editions.
Jervis went on to author four editions of All the Rules of the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas and Exchequer (1832–1839) and established his reputation as a leading scholar of procedure so that in 1850 he was appointed chair of a commission to inquire into practice and procedure at the common law courts, alongside James Shaw Willes and George Wilshere, 1st Baron Bramwell.The commission's findings led to the Common Law Procedure Acts 1852 and 1854 (15 & 16 Vict. c. 76 and 17 & 18 Vict. c. 135) which started the process of rationalising the English courts, until then still hampered by much medieval practice, and creating the modern system.
Jervis was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Chester in 1832 and held the seat until he became a judge in 1850. Jervis was never overly concerned with local politics and was distant as a constituency MP, even being censured in the Liberal Chester Chronicle for his inaction over the River Dee Bill and his overly-insistent attempts to ensure that his son was nominated as candidate in his stead when he stood down. Jervis did however take an uncharacteristic interest in the Chester Criminals' Execution Bill (1835),and the Weaver Churches Act 1840. Jervis was appointed Solicitor-General in 1846, becoming Attorney-General three days later when Sir Thomas Wilde was appointed a judge. Jervis was knighted on 1 August 1846.
Jervis was Attorney-General while the revolutions of 1848 were unfolding across Europe and affecting events in the UK. The collateral domestic civil unrest resulted in the speedy enactment of the Treason Felony Act 1848 (11 & 12 Vict. c. 12)and Jervis was involved in the drafting and promotion of the Bill. The Act in turn generated a heavy workload for Jervis in running prosecutions against Chartist activists. Jervis won all such prosecution and achieved some fame and honour, being considered for high judicial office.
By 1848, the institution of Justice of the Peace in England and Wales had fallen into disrepute in some legal circles,its statutory basis dating back to the sixteenth century. Jervis was responsible for sponsoring, drafting and all but single-handedly guiding through the House of Commons three bills to reform the criminal and civil roles of a Justice of the Peace in England and Wales:
The Acts won considerable praise as soon as they came into force though they did later attract criticism for their verbose style.In retrospect, Getzler expresses the opinion that the system of local justices would have fallen into further disrepute and ultimate decline and desuetude without these reforms. These Acts largely defined the modern system of summary and indictable offences within the magistrates' courts.
The Indictable Offences Act 1848 is important in that it is the first codification of the police caution in England and Wales, in the words: : s.18
Having heard the evidence, do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you desire to do so, but whatever you say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence against you at your trial.
The first two Acts defined the duties of Justices acting other than at quarter sessions (i.e. "out of sessions"). Jervis achieved consistency of practice by appending extensive forms and precedents to the Acts so as to provide a straightforward means by which Justices could comply though allowing them, at least the perception of, freedom to adapt to local circumstances. The prudent Justice follows precedent and this was a character trait a future Attorney-General, Alexander Cockburn, would use in the Common Law Procedure Act 1852and the Common Law Procedure Act 1854.
A fourth Act, the Petty Sessions Act 1849, proscribed the holding of petty sessions in "unsuitable" premises such as public houses, though it was delayed because the Bill's provisions as to salaries for magistrates' clerks and statutory scales for court fees proved unacceptable.
Jervis was appointed Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and appointed a Privy Councillor.In 1854, he heard the case of Talbot v. Laroche , a legal action pivotal to the history of photography. His greatest judicial achievement, however, was the creation of the "indoor management rule" or rule in Turquand's case, giving protection to third parties who deal with a company in good faith without knowledge that the company has not followed its own internal procedures.
Jervis died suddenly, possibly of lung cancer, on 1 November 1856 in London and was buried at Shipbourne.
An indictment is a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that use the concept of felonies, the most serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that do not use the felonies concept often use that of an indictable offence, an offence that requires an indictment.
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The Criminal Code is a law that codifies most criminal offences and procedures in Canada. Its official long title is An Act respecting the criminal law, and it is sometimes abbreviated as Cr.C. in legal reports. Section 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867 establishes the sole jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada over criminal law.
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The courts of Scotland are responsible for administration of justice in Scotland, under statutory, common law and equitable provisions within Scots law. The courts are presided over by the judiciary of Scotland, who are the various judicial office holders responsible for issuing judgments, ensuring fair trials, and deciding on sentencing. The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland, subject to appeals to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and the High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court, which is only subject to the authority of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on devolution issues and human rights compatibility issues.
Summary jurisdiction, in the widest sense of the phrase, in English law includes the power asserted by courts of record to deal brevi manu with contempts of court without the intervention of a jury. Probably the power was originally exercisable only when the fact was notorious, i.e. done in presence of the court. But it has long been exercised as to extra curial contempts.
The Offences against the Person Act 1861 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It consolidated provisions related to offences against the person from a number of earlier statutes into a single Act. For the most part these provisions were, according to the draftsman of the Act, incorporated with little or no variation in their phraseology. It is one of a group of Acts sometimes referred to as the Criminal Law Consolidation Acts 1861. It was passed with the object of simplifying the law. It is essentially a revised version of an earlier Consolidation Act, the Offences Against the Person Act 1828, incorporating subsequent statutes.
The Treason Felony Act 1848 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Parts of the Act are still in force. It is a law which protects the King and the Crown.
The Criminal Law Act 1977 (c.45) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Most of it only applies to England and Wales. It creates the offence of conspiracy in English law. It also created offences concerned with criminal trespass in premises, made changes to sentencing, and created an offence of falsely reporting the existence of a bomb.
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The Act 7 Will 4 & 1 Vict c 85, sometimes called the Offences against the Person Act 1837, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It amended the law relating to offences against the person. It was one of the Acts for the Mitigation of the Criminal Law passed during the session 7 Will 4 & 1 Vict. The Legal Observer said that this Act materially lessened the severity of the punishment of offences against the person.
The Short Titles Act 1896 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It replaces the Short Titles Act 1892.
The Accessories and Abettors Act 1861 is a mainly repealed Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It consolidated statutory English criminal law related to accomplices, including many classes of encouragers (inciters). Mainly its offences were, according to the draftsman of the Act, replacement enactments with little or no variation in phraseology. It is one of a group of Acts sometimes referred to as the Criminal Law Consolidation Acts 1861. It was passed with the object of simplifying the law. It collected the relevant parts of Peel's Acts and others.
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The Piracy Act 1850, sometimes called the Pirates Repeal Act, is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It relates to proceedings for the condemnation of ships and other things taken from pirates and creates an offence of perjury in such proceedings.
The Criminal Justice Administration Act 1851 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
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The Court of Pleas of the County Palatine of Durham and Sadberge, sometimes called the Court of Pleas or Common Pleas of or at Durham was a court of common pleas that exercised jurisdiction within the County Palatine of Durham until its jurisdiction was transferred to the High Court by the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873. Before the transfer of its jurisdiction, this tribunal was next in importance to the Chancery of Durham. The Court of Pleas probably developed from the free court of the Bishop of Durham. The Court of Pleas was clearly visible as a distinct court, separate from the Chancery, in the thirteenth century.
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