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COURT Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

In legislation. A legislative assembly. Parliament is called in the old books a court of the king, nobility, and commons assembled. Finch, Law, b. 4, c. 1, p. 233; Fleta, lib. 2, c. 2. This meaning of the word has been retained in the titles of some deliberative bodies, such as the general court of Massachusetts, (the legislature.) In international law. The person and suite of the sovereign; the place where the sovereign sojourns with his regal retinue, wherever that may be. The English government is spoken of in diplomacy as the court of St. James, because the palace of St. James is the official palace. In practice. An organ of the government, belonging to the judicial department, whose function is the application of the laws to controversies brought before it and the public administration of justice. White County v. Gwin, 130 Ind. 5G2, 30 N. E. 237, 22 L. II. A. 402. The presence of a sufficient number of the members of such a body regularly convened in an authorized place at an appointed time, engaged in the full and regular performance of its functions. Brumley v. State, 20 Ark. 77. A court may be more particularly described as an organized body with defined powers, meeting at certain times and places for the hearing and decision of causes and other matters brought before it. and aided in this, its proper business, by its proper officers, viz., attorneys and counsel to present and manage the business, clerics to record and attest its acts and decisions, and ministerial officers to execute its commands, and secure due order in its proceedings. Ex parte Gardner, 22 Nev. 280, 39 Pac. 570. The place where justice is judicially administered. Co. Litt. 58a; 3 Bl. Comm. 23. Railroad Co. v. Harden, 113 Ga. 450, 38 S. E. 950. The judge, or the body of judges, presiding over a court. The words “court” and “judge,” or “judges,” are frequently used in our statutes as synonymous. When used with reference to orders made by the court or judges, they are to be so understood. State v. Caywood, 90 Iowa, 307, 05 N. W. 3S5; Michigan Cent. R. Co. v. Northern Ind. R. Co.. 3 Ind. 239. Classification. Courts may be classified and divided according to several methods, the following being the more usual: Courts o/ record and courts not of record; the former being those whose acts and judicial proceedings are enrolled, or recorded, for a perpetual memory and testimony, and which have power to fine or imprison for contempt. Error lies to their judgments, and they generally possess a seal. Courts not of record are those of inferior dignity, which have no power to fine or imprison, and in which the proceedings are not enrolled or recorded. 3 Bl. Comm. 24; 3 Steph. Comm. 383; The Thomas Fletcher (C. C.) 24 Fed. 481; Ex parte Thistleton, 52 Cal. 225; Thomas v. Robinson, 3 Wend. (X. Y.) 208; Erwin v. U. S. (D. C.) 37 Fed. 4S8, 2 L. It. A. 229. Superior and inferior courts; the former being courts of general original jurisdiction in the first instance, and which exercise a control or supervision over a system of lower courts, either by appeal, error, or certiorari; the latter being courts of small or restricted Jurisdiction, and subject to the review or correction of higher courts. Sometimes the former term is used to denote a particular group or system of courts of high powers, and all others are called “inferior courts.” To constitute a court a superior court as to any class of actions, within the commonlaw meaning of that term, its jurisdiction of such actions must be unconditional, so that the only thing requisite to enable the court to take cognizance of them is the acquisition of jurisdiction of the persons of the parties. Simons v. De Bare, 4 Bosw. (X. Y.) 547. An inferior court is a court whose judgments or decrees can be reviewed, on appeal or writ of error, by a higher tribunal, whether that tribunal be the circuit or supreme court. Nugent v. State, 18 Ala. 521. Civil and criminal courts; the former being such as are established for the adjudication of controversies between subject and subject, or the ascertainment, enforcement, and redress of private rights; the latter, such as are charged with the administration of the criminal laws, and the punishment of wrongs to the public. Equity courts and law courts; the former being such as possess the jurisdiction of a chancellor, apply the rules and principles of chancery law, and follow the procedure iu equity; the latter, such as have 110 equitable powers, but administer justice according to the rules and practice of the common law. As to the division of courts according to their jurisdiction, see JURISDICTION. As to several names or kinds of courts not specifically described in the titles immediately following, see ARCIIES COURT, APPELLATE, CIRCUIT COURTS, CONSISTORY COURTS, COUNTY, CUSTOMARY COLIST BARON, ECCLESIASTICAL COURTS, FEDERAL COURTS, IIIGU COMMISSION COURT, INSTANCE COURT, JUSTICE COURT, JUSTICIARY COURT, MARITIME COURT, MAYOR’S COURT, MOOT COURT, MUNICIPAL COURT, ORPHANS’ COURT, POLICE COURT, PREROGATIVE COURT, PRIZE COURT, PROBATE COURT, SUPERIOR COURTS, SUPREME COURT, and SURROGATE’S COURT. As to court-hand, court-house, court- lands, court rolls, see those titles in their alphabetical order infra.


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