Journal Article

Summary Justice in Early Modern London

Faramerz Dabhoiwala

in The English Historical Review

Volume CXXI, issue 492, pages 796-822
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online June 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI:
Summary Justice in Early Modern London

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The purpose of this note is to elucidate the character and extent of summary jurisdiction in the City of London in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Summary justice, exercised by justices of the peace acting alone or in concert, was the simplest type of law in early modern England. During this period there was a notable expansion of its use against petty crime and social disorder. This trend was especially marked in London, the most politically important and jurisdictionally innovative borough in the country. Yet thus far a proper appreciation of the scope and nature of summary justice in the City has been hampered by the peculiar complexity of its juridical arrangements, and an imperfect understanding of the records generated by them. The note explains the interrelationship of the judicial institutions; describes the various types of sources that survive; sets out in an appendix the numbers of commitments to a house of correction between 1597 and 1854; and explores the significance of the evidence presented.

Journal Article.  9042 words. 

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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