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Judicature Acts

Judicature Acts, 1873–5. These Acts brought about a much needed reorganization of the courts in England and Wales. Before the Acts there were a number of common law courts, all with overlapping jurisdiction—Common Pleas, King's Bench, and Exchequer. There was also the Court of Chancery, which administered the rules and remedies of equity, separately from the rules of common law, and which had become a scandal through its delays and expense. Finally there were courts administering family and probate matters, which had inherited their jurisdiction from the ecclesiastical courts, and the Court of Admiralty. The Judicature Acts abolished these separate courts and instead set up the Supreme Court of Judicature, consisting of a Court of Appeal, to hear appeals on civil matters, and a single High Court, having several divisions corresponding to the previous separate courts; there were now the King's Bench, Common Pleas, Exchequer, and Chancery divisions of the High Court, and the remaining jurisdictions were combined in a Division for Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty.

Maureen Mulholland

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Judicature Acts

JUDICATURE ACTS

English statutes that govern and revise the organization of the judiciary.

Parliament enacted a series of statutes in 1873 during the reign of Queen Victoria that changed and restructured the court system of England. Consolidated and called the Judicature Act of 1873, these enactments became effective on November 1, 1875, but were later amended in 1877. As a result, superior courts were consolidated to form one supreme court of judicature with two divisions, the High Court of Justice, primarily endowed with original jurisdiction, and the Court of Appeal, which possessed appellate jurisdiction.

The present court system of England is organized according to the Judicature Acts, which were redrafted in 1925 as the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act and which made the Court of Appeals, consisting of a civil division and criminal division, the center of the English judiciary.

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