By Anthony Musson, W. M. Ormrod (auth.)
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Additional info for The Evolution of English Justice: Law, Politics and Society in the Fourteenth Century
The Chancery At the beginning of the fourteenth century the chancery was an administrative office, responsible for writing the charters, letters patent and letters close (writs) issued under the great seal. 34 As in the council, process was begun by a petition from the plaintiff; if the chancery accepted the case, the defendant was usually summoned to appear by a writ of subpena under the great seal. As in the council too, justice was summary: there was no jury, and the chancellor, as president of the court, simply declared a judgment when sufficient evidence had been collected.
49 The Statute of Treasons of 1352 effectively put an end to arbitrary judgments 'on the king's record', and thereafter it was tacitly agreed that all state trials involving allegations of high treason had to take place before a full session of the lords in parliament. Although the process of trial once more became somewhat summary under Richard II, there was no real dispute over the appropriate venue: even at the height of his 'tyrannical' regime in 1397-8, Richard was persuaded that the only proper place in which to bring charges of treason against peers of the realm was before the great council in parliament.
47 The crown Royal Justice at the Centre 27 itself encouraged this development: when taking proceedings against discredited ministers such as Adam Stratton in 1279 and Walter Langton in 1307, or when conducting purges of central and local government in 1289 and 1340, Edward I and Edward Ill publicly invited all those who had grievances against royal officials to submit bills in parliament which could then be used to supplement the charges brought against such ministers before the lords in great counci1.