From that group evolved the justices in eyre, who possessed a mixed administrative and judicial jurisdiction.The justices in eyre were not, to put it mildly, popular. The judiciary were becoming separate from the executive. During this period judges gradually gained independence from the monarch and the government. By the time he died in 1229 he was known as one of the finest lawyers in England; even 60 years after his death, his judgments were being searched for precedents. His son Edward VI and daughter Mary I did include judges on their own Privy Councils, but Elizabeth I excluded them for 40 years. This was bound to affect the quality of the judiciary: judges knew very well their jobs were at risk if the sovereign did not like their judgments. Although it was generally accepted at this time that even the King was subject to the laws of the land, the Reformation added to the sovereign’s powers; the state had taken over the Church’s privilege to define the laws of God, and had removed the influence of the Pope as the ultimate arbiter on Earth. Shortly afterwards, the new Central Criminal Court was set up, unifying the administration of justice in London and surrounding areas. When Henry came to the throne, there were just 18 judges in the country – compared to more than 40,000 today. History of the judiciary. This dealt only with civil disputes, for example property and contract cases, and applied the law of equity – even-handedness or fairness. In 1387, six judges advised Richard II that a parliamentary commission set up to limit his own powers was ‘invalid and traitorous’. It’s doubtful that anyone asked to design a justice system would choose to copy the English and Welsh model. On the face of it, the judiciary was becoming steadily more independent: in 1642, Charles I was forced to agree to the appointment of judges “during good behaviour”, and their salaries were raised from under £200 to £1,000 a year in 1645. Magistrates’ courts hark back to the Anglo-Saxon moot court and the manorial court, but their official birth came in 1285, during the reign of Edward I, when ‘good and lawful men’ were commissioned to keep the King’s peace. Theodore FT Plucknett, A Concise History of the Common Law, Butterworth & Co, 1956 Meanwhile, a new type of court began to evolve – that which we now recognise as the magistrates’ court. Changes evolved slowly; even in the middle of the 14th century, under Edward III, there could be close collaboration between the Court of King’s Bench and the King’s Council. Federal Judiciary Continues Long History of Swearing In President Four WWII Veteran Judges, All in 90s, Still Going Strong From Drug Wars to Water Wars, Fifty Years on the Bench Justice for the Anglo-Saxons and even after the Norman invasion of 1066 was a combination of local and royal government. Judy Hodgson (ed), The English Legal Heritage, Oyez Publishing, 1979. By the middle of the 13th century, knights had begun to join clerics on the bench. The same Act established the High Court and the Court of Appeal and provided a right of appeal in civil cases to the Court of Appeal. Read more about the history of the legal system in England and Wales. Find out about 900 years of legal evolution - and how it works today. Criminal appeal rights remained limited until the establishment of a Court of Criminal Appeal under the Criminal Appeal Act 1907. Either side could employ their own champions, so the system wasn’t perhaps as fair as it might be. But as the years went by, the Court of Chancery began to be known for the same problems it had been set up to combat: expense and delay. What is the judiciary's place in the structure of the UK? This didn’t always help: in 1350 the Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, William de Thorpe, was sentenced to death for bribery (he was later pardoned, but demoted). The justices in eyre were not, to put it mildly, popular. Lists, statistics, biographies and how to become a judge. Also, the Lord Chancellor was free to give whatever ruling he liked in a Chancery court, unbound by the law – which made it almost impossible for lawyers to advise their clients correctly. The very first judges, back in the 12th century, were court officials who had particular experience in advising the King on the settlement of disputes. In 1178, Henry II first chose five members of his personal household – two clergy and three lay – “to hear all the complaints of the realm and to do right”. The seeds of the modern justice system were sown by Henry II (1154-1189), who established a jury of 12 local knights to settle disputes over the ownership of land. If their hand had begun to heal after three days they were considered to have God on their side, thus proving their innocence. If innocent, he or she would sink. The King’s court – the Curia Regis – was, initially at least, presided over by the King himself. Find out more about History of the judiciary The judiciary, the government and the constitution Judiciary, branch of government whose task is the authoritative adjudication of controversies over the application of laws in specific situations. But it’s far better than trial by ordeal, used until almost the end of the 12th century to determine guilt or innocence in criminal cases. During this period judges gradually gained independence from the monarch and the government. Incredibly, it survived until 1971. Under this system, the accused would be forced to pick up a red hot bar of iron, pluck a stone out of a cauldron of boiling water, or something equally painful and dangerous. Crown Courts as we know them today were not actually established until 1956, and then only in Liverpool and Manchester.