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(1) In medieval England this term had four meanings. First, it referred to sessions of the royal council and also general decrees and dispositions of the king. The best known of these royal assizes are those issued by Henry II (1133–89): the grand assize, which, with the help of jurors, investigated sworn statements in the right of seisin of land; the assize of Clarendon concerning the creation of the so-called grand jury (of indicting jurors) for trying cases involving capital crimes; and the assize on weapons. Second, it denoted special kinds of juridical investigations—for example, on novel disseisin (the recent, forceful usurpation of a freehold) and on the death of an ancestor (the assize of mort d’ancestor), which was held when hindrances arose in the inheritance of a fief—formulated in the specifically English system of court orders (writs), which were issued to the plaintiff by an official of the Crown. The term “assizes” could also be used for traveling (circuit) sessions of the courts or for the court of jurors.

(2) In medieval France the assizes were primarily dispositions of the great land-owning lords. Most notable were the assizes of Bretagne and Champagne on the inheritance of fiefs (12th-14th centuries).

(3) The term “assize” also existed in other countries. For example, the assizes of Jerusalem were a code of laws which served to guide the courts in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, established by the Crusaders in 1099. Also well-known were the assizes of Antioch in a 13th-century Armenian redaction; the Roman assize, which was in effect in the Latin empire (1204–61); and others.

(4) In present-day Britain the assizes are traveling sessions of the Court of the King’s Bench. In this same meaning of a traveling court which tries cases with the participation of jurors, the term “assize” is also used in present-day France.


References in periodicals archive ?
With Johnston firing on all cylinders, consider putting Assizes and Moon Trip in a double.
Highlights include a set of six Charles II chairs which were believed to have been used in the court room of Hanging Judge Jeffreys during the Bloody Assize held at Taunton Castle, Somerset, in 1685.
The one-month suspension of "EuzgE-r Ortam" was ordered by Istanbul assizes court No.
His court appearances were made at the police courts and quarter sessions in both Salford and Manchester, and on one occasion, at the Manchester assizes.
Qui est un Recueil de Divers Poemes Grecs, Latins et Francois, Composez par plusieurs doctes Personnages aux Grans Jours tenus a Poitiers l'An MDLXXIX (The Flea of Madame Des Roches, which is a collection of diverse Greek, Latin and French poems, composed by several learned persons during the Special Assizes held in Poitiers in the year 1579).
William Wickham who served on the Grand Jury under the chairmanship of Sir William Heathcote for the Hampshire Summer Assizes of 1814.
After Constable Jennings gave evidence as to the arrest, Martinsen was committed for trial at the forthcoming assizes which were just two weeks away.
1966: Moors murderers jailed for life Ian Brady and his lover Myra Hindley have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the so-called Moors murders, at Chester Assizes.
A source said: "This case is being pushed forward to the Assizes with exceptional speed.
Holden pleaded guilty to murder in November 1900 at Manchester Assizes, and was hanged at Strangeways Prison.
In May 1884, Elizabeth Armstrong appeared at Newcastle Assizes, the Crown Court of Victorian times, charged with theft.