The Court of Star Chamber

The brief history of The Court of Star Chamber.

The Court of Star Chamber
The Court of Star Chamber

“To name a case a ‘Star Chamber proceeding’ now is a dreadful insult—an accusation of severe procedural injustice and misuse of power,” writes legal expert Elizabeth G. Thornburg. However, the true narrative of the Court of Star Chamber is far more convoluted.” Historians date the Court of Star Chamber’s origins to the latter part of the fourteenth century, and attribute its name to the chamber’s ceiling, which is ornamented in the medieval style with gold-painted stars, according to one idea.

The Court of Star Chamber arose as an outgrowth of the King’s Council, through which individuals may seek legal assistance not available in current courts, allowing the poor to pursue claims against the wealthy.

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The Statutes of Westminster 1275 – England

The Statutes of Westminster The Palace of Westminster 1275

Edward I (1239–1307)

The Statutes of Westminster The Palace of Westminster
The Statutes of Westminster The Palace of Westminster

We now use the term statute to refer to an act or, as Black’s Legislation Dictionary defines it, “a law passed by a legislative body.” However, as English historians H. G. Richardson and George Sayles demonstrate, that term was not widely used until the late fourteenth century. Enactments were previously referred to as provisions or établissements.

King Edward I convened his first parliament at Westminster in 1275, shortly after returning from the Ninth Crusade and ascending to the throne, and produced the first Statute of Westminster, with fifty-one clauses in Anglo-Norman (Old French) covering a wide range of substantive legal areas as well as the administration of justice. Because it offered common rights to all and free elections, English historian William Stubbs dubbed the act “nearly a code by itself” in 1877. Law historian George Crabb commended Edward I’s work at the time, naming him “the English Justinian.”

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