Court of King's Bench, Crown Side, and Supreme Court of Judicature, High Court of Justice, King's Bench Division: Record of Orders, Writs and Returns and Special Cases
The first part of the series consists of the continuing series of recorda files of the Court of King's Bench. By the seventeenth century it had become a Crown Side file, with the name of the current clerk of the crown written on its cover. When the contents of the file came to be written in English rather than Latin in 1733, it came to be entitled 'Record of orders and so forth'; in 1837 the file was divided into two, one for 'Record of writs and returns', one for 'Record of orders', but their style as medieval-type files was retained until 1886, when they became bundles.
The second part is made up of writs and returns consist principally of returns to writs of certiorari by local justices of the peace or recorders of boroughs of copies of orders which were to become the subject of further hearings before the court or, after 1875, the King's Bench Division. After 1889 they also include writs and returns for the election of coroners and verderers, and there are returns of lists of voters revised under 6 & 7 Vict c 18 and subsequent legislation. They are therefore very similar in general content to the recorda files of earlier centuries.The orders contain writs of certiorari removing cases from inferior courts, especially quarter or petty sessions, with copies of the relevant proceedings, and also copies of special cases stated by litigants wishing to have cases removed from the lower courts by certiorari.
The character of this series was modified between 1902 and 1912 to consist of motions and orders in cases brought in the King's Bench Division in civil suits.
In 1902 the orders are replaced by an annual bundle of motions for judgment in special and other cases and a series of volumes of orders on motions for judgement. Most of the remainder of the series consists of motions for judgment, including special cases, which arose particularly from statutes governing arbitration, town and country planning and highways. Registers of motions for judgment are included from 1929. Volumes of orders in special cases to 1966 include their own indexes, and from 1977 there are separate indexes.
There is also a register of industrial relations cases heard by a special judge following the abolition of the National Industrial Relations Court in 1974.
The later files in the series became available a century before the earlier ones because of the sorting methods of Henry Cole and his assistants at the Carlton Ride branch of the Public Record Office in the 1840s. They worked backwards chronologically from their own day to the late seventeenth century, and that phase of sorting work came to an end before the earlier files were dealt with. The series is mentioned in F S Thomas, Guide to the Public Records (1853), where it is incorrectly said to begin in 5 William & Mary. Many of the files still bear the characteristic Carlton Ride labels, printed in black on yellow paper, and were only removed from small sacks, in which they were packed at Carlton Ride, in 1991. The second set of labels on the file covers, in a smaller, rounder hand than the original labels, were added during the sorting work at Carlton Ride.
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