The Ninth Year of George II. - Chap. III.
An Act for better regulating of Juries.
Whereas many evil-practices have been used in corrupting of juries returned for the trial of issues joined, to be tried before the justices of assize or nisi prius; and many persons, being lawfully summoned to serve on juries, have neglected to appear, to the great injury of many persons in their properties and estates: in order to prevent the like practices, neglects, and abuses, be it enacted by the King’s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by authority of the same, That from and after the first day of March, which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty six, no person or persons (other than strangers upon trials per medietatem lingua) shall be qualified to serve as jurors for the trial of issues joined between party and party in courts of Chancery, King’s bench, Common pleas, or Exchequer, or to serve on any jury on the trial of any such issue before any justice or justices of assize or nisi prius (except in counties of cities, and counties of towns) that shall not be seized of a freehold of the clear value of five pounds per annum, or being a protestant or protestants, shall not be possessed of a lease or leases for a term of years, of which ten years shall be then in being and unexpired, or a lease or leases for sixty one years or more determinable on one or more life or lives, on which leases respectively a clear profit rent of not less than fifteen pounds per annum shall arise or accrue to the lessee thereof; and if any person of lesser estate or value, than as aforesaid, shall be respectively returned upon any such jury it shall be a good cause of challenge and the party so returned shall be discharged upon such challenge on due proof thereof, or on oath by him to be made of the truth of such matter; and the writ of venire facias, which from and after the time aforesaid, shall be awarded and directed for impannelling of juries in cases aforesaid, shall be in this form: Rex, & c. precipimus, & c. quod venire facias coram, & c. duodecim liberos et legales homines de commitat’ tuo quor’ quilibet habet quinque libras terra tenementorum
vel reddituum per annum, ad minus per quos, & c. et qui nec, & c. and the residue of the said writ shall be after the usual manner; and upon such writ all persons qualified by this act to serve on juries, as is before directed, whether freeholders or leaseholders, shall and may be returned, summoned, and impannelled, to serve on juries as aforesaid, in like manner as freeholders may be returned, summoned, or impannelled, by virtue of this act, or any other act or acts of Parliament for that purpose; any law, statute, or usage, custom, to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
II. And that all sheriffs of counties may be the better informed of persons qualified; who are to be returned on trials of such issues, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the first day of August, which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty six, all high-constables of baronies, half-baronies, or divisions, in any county within this kingdom shall yearly at the general quarter-sessions of the peace, to be holden for each county in the week after the feast of St. Michael the archangel, upon the first day of the said sessions, or upon the first day that the said sessions shall be held by adjournment, return and give in upon oath to the best of his or their knowledge or belief a true list in writing of the names and places of abode of all persons within their respective baronies, half-baronies, or divisions, qualified pursuant to the foregoing clause to serve upon juries, with their titles and additions, between the age of twenty one years and the age of seventy years, to the justices of the peace in open court, who are hereby required and impowered to administer the said oath; which said justices, or any two of them, at the said sessions shall cause to be delivered a duplicate of the aforesaid list, or of the list rectified in the manner herein after mentioned, by the clerks of the peace of every county to the sheriff of each respective county, or his under sheriff, on or before the twelfth day of February then next following, and cause the said list or lists to be fairly and truly entered in a book by the clerks of the peace, to be by him provided and kept for that purpose amongst the records of the said court of sessions; and no sheriff, under-sheriff, bailiff, or other officer, to whom the returns of juries shall belong, shall return any person or persons to try any such issues, that shall not be named or mentioned in the said list; and any high-constable failing to make the return aforesaid, shall be fined any sum not less than the sum of five pounds, not exceeding ten pounds, for such their default by the said justices in open session; which fine, when imposed, shall be by the said justices and clerk of the peace estreated into his Majesty’s court of Exchequer: and to prevent any grievance or inconvenience that may happen on making or returning the said lists, every high-constable shall yearly and every year, twenty days at least before the feast of St. Michael the archangel, upon two or more Sundays fix upon the door of every church, in which divine service shall be celebrated within their respective precincts, a true and exact list of all such persons hereby intended to be returned to the quarter-sessions of the peace, as qualified to serve on juries pursuant to the directions aforesaid, and also leave at the same time an exact duplicate of such list with the respective officiating ministers of each parish, which minister is hereby required upon one of the said Sundays, that shall happen at least a week before the said feast of St. Michael the archangel, immediately after divine service to read over exactly, and publish the said lists to the congregation then attending, to the end that notice may be given of persons so qualified, who are omitted, or of persons inserted by mistake who ought to be omitted out of such lists; and if any person or persons, not being qualified to serve on juries according to the intention and direction of this act, shall find his or their name or names mentioned in such list, and the person or persons required to make such list shall refuse to omit him or them, or think it doubtful, whether he or they ought to be omitted, it shall and may be lawful to, and for the justices of the peace for the county at their respective general quarter-sessions, to which the said list shall be returned, upon satisfaction given them by the oath of the party complaining, or
other proof that he is not qualified to serve on juries, as this act requires, to order his or their name or names to be struck out or omitted in such list, when the said list shall be entered in a book to be kept by the clerk of the peace for that purpose, as also to insert in such list the name or names of such person or persons, as upon due examination and proof before them shall be found to be duly qualified according to the intention of this act, and omitted by such high-constable; and when duplicates of the said list shall be delivered or transmitted by the clerk of the peace to the sheriff of each respective county, or to his under sheriff, in such manner as aforesaid, such sheriff or under-sheriff shall immediately take care, that the names of the persons contained in such duplicates shall be faithfully entered alphabetically, with their additions and places of abode, in some book or books to be kept by him or them for that purpose; and that every high-sheriff, clerk of the peace, or high-constable, respectively neglecting his duty herein, shall be fined by the judges of assize in any sum not exceeding ten pounds, nor less than forty shillings; which said fines, when imposed, the said judges are hereby required to estreat into his Majesty’s court of Exchequer.
III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons required by this act to make up, return, or give in, any such list or any ways concerned therein, shall wilfully omit out of any such list any person or persons, who ought to be inserted, or shall wilfully insert any person or persons who ought to be omitted, or shall take any money or other reward for omitting or inserting any person whatsoever, he or they so offending shall for every person, so omitted or inserted in such list contrary to the meaning of this act, forfeit such sum and sums of money, not less than the sum of five pounds, nor exceeding the sum of twenty pounds, as the justices at the general quarter-session of the peace shall think fit to determine according to the nature of the offence; who are hereby impowered and required, on examination and proof of such offence, in a summary way to set the said fine, as is before limited and appointed; which fine, so set and imposed, the said justices and clerk of the peace are hereby required to estreat into his Majesty’s court of Exchequer.
IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That in case any sheriff or under-sheriff, bailiff, or other officer, to whom the return of juries shall belong, shall summon and return any person or persons to serve on any jury for trial of any such issues as aforesaid, whose name is not inserted in the duplicates so delivered or transmitted to him or them by such clerk of the peace, if any such duplicate shall be delivered or transmitted, or if any clerk of assize or nisi prius shall record the appearance of any person so summoned and returned as aforesaid, who did not really and truly appear, then and in such case the judges of the said respective courts, or any judge or justices of assize or nisi prius, shall and may upon examination and proof in a summary way set such fine or fines upon such sheriff or under-sheriff, clerk of assize or nisi prius, for every such person so summoned and returned as aforesaid; and for every person whose appearance shall be so falsly recorded, as the said judges of the said respective courts, or any judge or justice of assize or nisi prius, shall think meet, not exceeding the sum of twenty pounds, and not less than the sum of forty shillings; which said fines so imposed the said judges and justices are hereby required to estreat into his Majesty’s court of Exchequer.
V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no sheriff or under-sheriff, bailiff, or other officer or person whatsoever, shall directly or indirectly take or receive any money or other reward to excuse any person from serving or being summoned to serve on juries, or under that colour or pretence; and that no bailiff, or other officer appointed by any sheriff or under sheriff to summon juries, shall summon any person to serve thereon, other than such whose name is specified in a mandate signed by such sheriff or under-sheriff, and directed to such bailiff
or other officer, and shall summon every person named in such mandate by the space of six days at least before the time appointed for such jury to appear; and if any sheriff, under-sheriff, bailiff, or other officer, shall wilfully transgress in any of the cases aforesaid, any court, where such jury is to appear, the judge or justices of assize or nisi prius may, and is hereby required on examination and proof of such offence in a summary way to set a fine or fines upon any person or persons so offending, as he shall think meet, not exceeding the sum of ten pounds, nor less than forty shillings, according to the nature of the offence, to be estreated into his Majesty’s court of Exchequer as aforesaid.
VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and thirty six every sheriff, or other officer, to whom the return of the venire facias juratores, or other process for the tryal of causes before the justices of assize or nisi prius in any county, doth or shall belong shall upon his return of every such writ of venire facias (unless in causes intended to be tried at bar, or in cases where a special jury shall be struck by order or rule of court) annex a pannel to the said writ containing the christian and sirnames, additions, and places of abode of a competent number of jurors named in such lists, as qualified to serve on juries, the names of the same persons to be inserted in the pannel annexed to every venire facias for the tryal of all issues at the same assizes in each respective county, which number of jurors shall not be less than thirty six in any county, nor more than sixty, without direction of the judges appointed to go the circuit and to sit as judges of assize or nisi prius in such county, or one of them, who are respectively hereby impowered and required, if he or they see cause, by order under his or their respective hand or hands, to direct a greater or lesser number; and then such number, as shall be so directed, shall be the number to serve on such jury; and that the writs of habeus curpora juratorum or distringas, subsequent to such writ of venire facias juratores, need not have inserted in the bodies of such respective writs the names of all the persons contained in such pannel, but it shall be sufficient to insert in the mandatory part of such writs respectively copora separalium personarum, in pannella huic brevi annexo nominatarum, or words of the like import, and to annex to such writs respectively pannels, containing the same names, as were returned in the pannel to such venire facias, with their additions and places of abode, that the parties concerned in any such trials may have timely notice of the jurors, who are to serve thereon, in order to make their challenges to them, if there be cause; and that for the making the returns and pannels aforesaid, and annexing the same to the respective writs, no other fee or fees shall be taken, than what are now allowed by law to be taken for the return of the like writs and pannels annexed to the same; and that the persons named in such pannels shall be summoned to serve on juries at the then next assizes or sessions of nisi prius for the respective counties to be named in such writs, and no other; any thing in this or any other law to the contrary notwithstanding.
VII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the name of each and every person, who shall be summoned and impannelled as aforesaid, with his addition and the place of his abode, shall be written on several distinct pieces of parchment or paper, being all as near as may be of equal size and bigness, and shall be delivered unto the clerk of such judge of assize or nisi prius, who is to try the causes in the said county, by the sheriff or under-sheriff of the said county, or other officer returning the process, and shall by the direction and care of such clerk be rolled up all as near as may be in the same manner, and put together in a box or glass to be provided for that purpose; and when any such cause shall be brought on to be tryed, some indifferent person by direction of the court may and shall in open court draw out twelve of the said parchments or papers one after another; and if any of the persons, whose names shall be so drawn, shall not appear, or shall shall be challenged and set aside, then such further number, until twelve persons be drawn, who shall appear, and after all causes of challenge shall be allowed as fair
and indifferent, and the said twelve persons, so first drawn, appearing and approved as indifferent, their names being marked in the pannel, and they being sworn, shall be the jury to try the said cause: and the names of the persons so drawn and sworn shall be kept apart by themselves in some box or glass to be kept for that purpose, till such jury shall have given in their verdict, and the same is recorded, or until such jury shall by consent of the parties or leave of the court be discharged; and then the same names shall be rolled up again and returned to the former box or glass, there to be kept with the other names remaining at that time undrawn; and so toties quoties as long as any cause remains to be tried.
VIII. Provided always, That if any cause shall be brought on to be tried in any of the said courts respectively, before the jury in any other cause shall have brought in their verdict or be discharged, it shall and may be lawful for the court to order twelve of the residue of the said parchments or papers, not containing the names of any of the jurors who shall not have so brought in their verdict or be discharged, to be drawn in such manner as is aforesaid for the trial of the cause, which shall be brought on to be tried.
IX. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person or persons, whose name or names shall be so drawn as aforesaid, and who shall not appear after being openly called three times, shall, upon oath made by some credible person that such person so making default had been lawfully summoned, forfeit and pay for every default in not appearing upon call as aforesaid (unless some reasonable cause of his absence be proved by oath or affidavit to the satisfaction of the judge, who sits to try the said cause) such fine or fines not exceeding the sum of twenty pounds, and not less than forty shillings, as the said judge shall think reasonable to inflict or impose for such default; which fine so imposed the judges are hereby required to estreat into his Majesty’s court of Exchequer.
X. Provided always, That where a view shall be allowed in any cause, that in such case six of the jurors named in such pannel, or more, who shall be mutually consented to by the parties or their attornies on both sides, or, if they cannot agree, shall be named by the proper officer of the respective courts of King’s bench, Common-pleas, or Exchequer at Dublin for the causes in their respective courts, shall have the view, and shall not be challenged off, but they, or such of them as shall appear, shall be first sworn upon the jury to try the said cause before any drawing as aforesaid; and so many only shall be drawn to be added to the viewers who appear, as shall after all defaulters and challenges allowed make up the number of twelve to be sworn for the tryal of any such cause.
XI. And whereas, notwithstanding the provision made in this act to compel jurors to appear, it may happen, that a sufficient number of the jurors returned may not appear after legal challenges; be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That a tales may be granted and returned, as hath been heretofore used and accustomed; any thing herein contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
XII. And whereas for trials of causes upon writs of nisi prius the sheriffs do return a competent number of jurors, but it often happens, that many of the said causes, which are brought down for tryal, do not go on to be tried at the first assizes, but are brought down again to be tried again at some other subsequent assizes, whereby the jurors returned to try such causes are compelled to attend at several assizes for trial of one and the same cause to their very great expense and trouble; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if at any time after the commencement of this act any plaintiff or demandant in any cause between party and party, depending in any of the King’s courts at Dublin, which shall be at issue, shall sue forth any writ of venire facias, upon which any writ of habeas corpora or distringas with a nisi prius shall issue in order to the trial of such issue at the assizes, or the sittings in the court of King’s bench, Common pleas, or Exchequer, in or after term for trial, by nisi prius, and that such plaintiff or demandant shall not proceed to the trial of such issue at the said first assizes, or next sitting in the said courts, after
the teste of every such writ of habeas corpora or distringas with a nisi prius, then and in all such cases (other than where views by jurors shall be directed) the plaintiff or demandant, whensoever he shall think fit to try the said issue at any other assizes, or sitting in the said courts, shall sue forth and prosecute a new writ of venire facias, directed to the sheriff or other returning officer; which writ being duly returned and files, a writ of habeas corpora or distringas with the nisi prius shall issue thereupon, for which the antient and accustomed fees shall be taken, and no more, as in the case of the pluries habeas corpora or distringas with the nisi prius; upon which the plaintiff and demandant may proceed to trial, as if no former writ of venire facias had been prosecuted or filed in that cause, and so toties quoties as the case shall require: and if any defendant or tenant in any action, depending in any of the said courts, shall be minded to bring to trial any issue joined against him, when by the course of any of the said courts he may lawfully do the same by proviso, such defendant or tenant shall or may the issuable term next preceding such intended trial, to be had at the next assizes or sitting in the said courts, sue out a new venire facias to the sheriff or other returning officer by proviso, and prosecute the same by writ of habeas corpora or distringas with a nisi prius, as though there had not been any former venire facias sued out or returned in that cause, and so toties quoties as the matter shall require.
XII. And be it also enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, that every writ of venire facias, and every writ of habeas corpora or distringas with a nisi prius, sued out and prosecuted according to the purport and direction of this act, and all trials, entries, and proceedings thereupon, shall be good and warrantable by law, and not be erroneous, or be assigned or assignable for error; any former law or usage to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
XIII. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend or be construed to qualify any persons of the popish religion to serve on any jury in such cases, where by an act, for explaining and amending an act, intituled, An act to prevent the further growth of popery, made in the eighth year of the reign of her late Majesty Queen Anne, or by any other law now in being, such persons are rendered incapable of being jurors, or to serve on juries, or on trials of any issues, or any action depending in any of the courts above mentioned, where such action or suit is commenced and carried on by a protestant against a papist, or a papist against a protestant; in which cases it shall and may be lawful to challenge any papist returned as a juror to try the issue in any such case, and assign for cause, that the person so returned to serve is a papist or reputed papist; which challenge the said justice, judge or judges, before whom the same is to be tried, shall allow, if proved, and adjudge the same to be good and legal challenge; any thing in this act contained, or in any former law, to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.
XIV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that this act shall be openly read at every general quarter-sessions to be holden for every county during such time as this act shall continue in force.
XV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That this act shall continue and be in force until the twenty ninth day of September which shall be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty nine, and to the end of then next session of Parliament, and no longer.
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