Norwich Guildhall Court
The Norwich Guildhall Court was, at the time of its abolition, a local court of record which actively exercised a civil jurisdiction comparable to or greater than that of the county court for the district in which it was situated. The court appears to have originated in a court of husting, on the model of that of London.
The court was held under a grant of Richard I and other charters. The Charter of Charles II granted "that the sheriffs of the city and its county, may hold their court of pleas in the Guildhall, and prosecute and try, in the name of the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty of the said city, any plea, in any personal or mixed action, and any cause or matter arising or happening in the said city or county; and upon every recovery or judgment given in the sheriff's court, they may levy damages given, and costs of suit, by distress taken on the goods and chattels of every person against whom such judgment has been given; and in failure of goods and chattels, then on those of their sureties, or may arrest their bodies or the bodies of the said sureties." By the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 (5 & 6 Will 4 c 76), this court was confirmed in all its powers, and the town council were empowered "to appoint the necessary officer, before whom such court is to be holden." This officer was called the Judge of the Borough Court. The steward was formerly the assessor to this court.
By 1911, the procedure of the court was that established by the Common Law Procedure Acts 1852 and 1854. The whole of the provisions of the Summary Procedure on Bills of Exchange Act 1855 (18 & 19 Vict c 67) were extended to this court, as also were those of the Schedule to the Borough and Local Courts of Record Act 1872 (35 & 36 Vict c 86).
The Norwich Guildhall Court was abolished by section 43(1)(c) of the Courts Act 1971.
Section 44(2) conferred a power to make regulations to provide for the compensation of persons who suffered loss of employment or loss or diminution of emoluments attributable to the effect of section 44(1)(b) or to the abolition of the Norwich Guildhall Court.
- Halsbury's Laws of England, First Edition, Volume 9, para 414 at pp 185 to 186. See also pages 129 and 136 for a discussion of the general characteristics of borough and local courts of record.
- Blyth, G K. The Norwich Guide. Printed by Josiah Fletcher. Upper Haymarket, Norwich. Page 71.
- Also called Court of Guildhall or Sheriff's Court or Borough Court
- This is asserted by section 43(1) of the Courts Act 1971.
- Halsbury's Laws of England, First Edition, Volume 9, para 414 at p 186.
- Lewis, Samuel. A Topographical Dictionary of England. Fourth Edition. S Lewis & Co. Aldersgate Street, London. 1840. Volume 3. Page 395.
- Blyth, G K. The Norwich Guide and Directory. London: R Hastings. Norwich: Josiah Fletcher. 1842. Page 71.
- The Act 16 & 17 Vict c 76, with certain exceptions, and the rules thereunder, were extended to this court by Order in Council of 3 July 1854 (Statutory Rules and Orders Revised, Volume 6, Inferior Court, England, p 146).
- The Act 17 & 18 Vict c 125, with certain exceptions, and the rules thereunder, were extended to this court by Order in Council of 20 May 1857 (Statutory Rules and Orders Revised, Volume 6, Inferior Court, England, p 147).
- By the said Order in Council of 20 May 1857.
- By Order in Council of 17 July 1873 (Statutory Rules and Orders Revised, Volume 6, Inferior Court, England, p 148).
- This is the effect of paragraph 4(1)(b) of Schedule 1 to the Public Records Act 1958, as read with paragraph 4(1B)(c) of that Schedule (as inserted by paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 to the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2004).