Open main menu

Administration of Justice Act 1774

The Administration of Justice Act, or Act for the Impartial Administration of Justice, also popularly called the Murdering Act or Murder Act, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain.[1] It became law on 20 May 1774. It is one of the measures (variously called the Intolerable Acts, the Punitive Acts or the Coercive Acts by many colonists) that were designed to secure Britain's jurisdiction over the American dominions. As such it is a part of the Grievances of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Administration of Justice Act 1774
Long titleAn act for the impartial administration of justice in the cases of persons questioned for any acts done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the province of the Massachuset's Bay, in New England.
Citation14 Geo 3 c 39
Territorial extentProvince of Massachusetts Bay
Commencement20 May 1774

These Coercive Acts included the Boston Port Act, the Massachusetts Government Act, and the Quebec Act. The Act allowed the royally appointed governor to remove any acquisition placed on a royal official by a patriot, if the governor did not believe the official would have a fair trial. The Act was referred to as the "Murder Act" because the patriots believed that the official could get away with capital offences.

To assure trials more conducive to the Crown than the prejudices of local juries, the Act granted a change of venue to another British colony or Great Britain in trials of officials charged with a crime growing out of their enforcement of the law or suppression of riots. Witnesses for both sides were also required to attend the trial and were to be compensated for their expenses.


  1. ^ 14 Geo III c. 39

External linksEdit