From the reign of Henry II, the chief town of each county held The King's Court of assize, to hear and determine civil and criminal cases , and empty the jails - `Oyer, terminer and general jail delivery', as it was called in a mixture of Norman, French and English.
In early days most criminal were arrested and kept in prison until their trial, but as the usual punishments were fines, branding or maiming, forfeitures and execution, the itinerant judges found the jails full and left them empty. Nowadays, most of the accused await their trial on bail, and many of them are punished with imprisonment. So now that the situation is reversed, the judges fill the prisons instead of emptying them. Groups of barristers used to travel around with the Judge, to represent those who appeared before him. Gradually, those who followed a particular itinerary formed an association. They dined together in the assize towns, and their associations became known as circuit messes. Each developed its own traditions, customs and disciplines, and did much to ensure that members of local bars who lived and practised in centres outside and merely came to the capital City, shared the standards and traditions of the rest of the profession. Today the great countries overseas have their own law schools. They train their own lawyers and judges. But they still return to visit us - to see the places from which their forerunners came. They may like to look a little bit more closely into our story, if so; they will find it in this excellent book - written with care, skill and devotion. It should find a place on every lawyer's library.
Publisher: Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing
Number of pages: 353
Weight: 480 g
Dimensions: 185 x 120 x 18 mm