Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Court of Requests

Court of Requests was an equity court that existed in a formal manner during the 16th Century in England. The court itself is said to have been created by Richard III (yes that evil monarch so demonised by Shakespeare at the behest of his Tudor patrons). 

Originally it was conducted through Lord Privy Seal, but under the modernizing King Henry VIII, two Masters of Request Ordinary were appointed as judges to preside over this court.  The Court of Requests was a remarkable court in so much as it provided equitable relief to small landowners, tenants and yeomen against major landowners and feudal elite of the time.

The court was very effective in providing justice so much so that there was a major backlash against it by the Common Law Courts which began overruling its decisions and stopped it from imprisoning anyone.  Ultimately, after the English Civil War, the seal under which it existed became invalid and the Court of Requests was allowed to fade into memory and history.

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