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The Court of King's Bench (or Court of Queen's Bench during the reign of a Queen) was one of the senior courts of common law in Ireland. It was a mirror of the Court of King's Bench in England. The King's Bench was one of the "Four Courts" which sat in the building in Dublin still known as "The Four Courts".

The Four Courts, present day


According to Elrington Ball,[1] the Court later called the King's Bench can be identified as early as 1290. It was fully operational by 1324, headed by the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, who was assisted by at least one associate justice.


The King's Bench was the principal court of criminal jurisdiction and civil jurisdiction, and its Chief Justice was the most senior judge in Ireland after the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Its workload was more onerous than that of the Court of Exchequer and the Court of Common Pleas, and there was a tradition that its judges must be of higher calibre than those of the other common law courts.[2] In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Crown expressed a strong preference for appointing English-born judges, especially to the office of Chief Justice.[3] From the beginning of the eighteenth century however no objection was made to the appointment of Irish-born judges.


The Court of Queen's Bench was abolished in 1878 by the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Ireland) 1877. The Court's jurisdiction passed to a new High Court of Justice. The High Court was itself abolished by Section 40 of the Government of Ireland Act 1920. That section created a High Court in Northern Ireland, which still contains a Queen's Bench Division, with similar jurisdiction to its counterpart in England and Wales. In the Republic of Ireland the jurisdiction passed to the new High Court of Ireland.



  • Commissioners of Inquiry into Courts of Justice in Ireland (1819). Sixth report (Court of King's Bench) with appendix. Sessional papers. Vol.12 6. Retrieved 10 September 2016.


  1. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221–1921 John Murray London 1926
  2. ^ Ball Judges in Ireland
  3. ^ Ball Judges in Ireland

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