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nisi (leg.) attached to decree, order, rule, to indicate that these are not absolute or final, but are to be taken as valid unless some cause is shown, etc. XIX. — L. nisi unless.
So nisi prius writ named from the first two words of the proviso ‘nisi prius justiciarii ad assisas capiendas venerint’ unless the judges come to take the assize before.

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