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committed by any member thereof, may be tried in the Court of the Lord High Steward of the university (i).
So far as Oxford is concerned this jurisdiction rests on a charter of the 7th June, in the second year of Henry the fourth confirmed by statute 13 Eliz. c. 29,); [and by this charter cognizance is granted to that university of all indictments of treasons, insurrections, felonies, and mayhem, which shall be found in any of the royal courts against a scholar or privileged person; and they are to be tried before the high steward of the university, or his deputy; who is to be nominated by the chancellor of the university for the time being. But, when his office is called forth into action, such high steward must be approved by the lord high chancellor of England; and a special commission, under the Great Seal, is given to him and others, to try the indictment then depending, according to the law of the land, and the privileges of the university. When, therefore, an indictment is found at the assizes or elsewhere, against any scholar of the university or other privileged person, the vice-chancellor may claim the cognizance of it (k); and, (when claimed in due time and manner,) it ought to be allowed him by the judges of assize; and then it comes to be tried in the high steward's court. But the indictment must first be found by a grand jury, and then the cognizance claimed; for it is apprehended that the
(i) Blackstone (vol. iv. p. 277) Kendrick r. Kynaston, 1 Bla. Rep. treats only of the criminal juris- 454; Hayes v. Long, 2 Wils. 310; diction of the University of Ox- Leasingby r. Smith, ibid. 406; R. ford. A similar jurisdiction is, 7. Routledge, 2 Doug. 531; R. v. however, enjoyed by that of Cam- Grundon, Cowp. 319; Thornton o. bridge. (See Bac. Ab. tit. “Uni- Ford, 15 Exch. 634. The statute versities.") As to the jurisdiction 19 & 20 Vict. c. xvii. s. 18, takes exercised by the proctors over per- away all right of the University of sons not members of the university, Cambridge to claim cognizance in in order to protect the morals of the any proceedings (criminal or otherstudents, see Kemp v. Neville, 10 wise) to which any person, not a C. B., N. S. 523.
member of the university, is party. (k) See R. v. Agar, 5 Buit. 2820;
[high steward cannot proceed originally ad inquirendum: .but only, after inquest in the common law courts, ad audiendum et determinandum. Much in the same way as when a peer is to be tried in the court of the lord high steward of Great Britain, the indictment must first be found at the assizes or in the Queen's Bench: and then, in consequence of a writ of certiorari, transmitted to be finally heard and determined, before his grace the lord high steward and the peers.
When the cognizance is so allowed,—if the offence be inter minora crimina, or a misdemeanor only, it is tried before the ordinary judge of the chancellor's court. But if it be for treason, felony or mayhem, it is then, and then only, to be determined before the high steward, under the king's special commission to try the same. of the trial is this: The high steward issues one precept to the sheriff of the county, who thereupon returns a panel of eighteen freeholders; and another precept to the bedells of the university, who thereupon return a panel of eighteen matriculated laymen, “ laicos privilegio universitatis gaudentes.” And by a jury formed de medietate, half of freeholders and half of matriculated persons,—is the indictment to be tried: and that in the Guildhall of the city of Oxford. And if execution be necessary to be awarded, in consequence of finding the party guilty of a capital offence, the sheriff of the county must execute the university process: to which he is annually bound by an oath.
These proceedings have been described with some minuteness, on account of the importance of the privilege; but in modern times the occasions for reducing them into practice have been happily very rare; nor will it perhaps ever be thought advisable to revive them, though it is not a right that rests merely in scriptis, or theory, but has formerly been carried into execution. There are several instances,—one in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, two [in that of James the first, and two in that of Charles the first, where indictments for murder have been challenged by the vice-chancellor at the assizes, and afterwards tried before the high steward, by jury. The commissions under the Great Seal, the sheriff's and bedell's panels, and all the other proceedings on the trial of the several indictments, are still extant in the archives of the university.]
OF SUMMARY CONVICTIONS.
[WE are next, according to the plan we laid down, to take into consideration the proceedings which obtain in the several courts of criminal jurisdiction, in order to the punishment of offences (a). These proceedings are divisible into two kinds, summary and regular : the former of which shall be briefly explained, before we enter on the latter, which will require a more thorough and particular examination.
By a summary proceeding, is meant principally such as is directed by several Acts of Parliament, (for the common law is a stranger to it, unless in the case of contempts,) for the conviction of offenders, and the infliction of certain penalties created by those Acts. In a summary proceeding, there is no intervention of a jury; but the party accused is acquitted or condemned, according to the opinion of such person, as the statute has appointed for his judge. An institution designed professedly for the greater ease of the subject; by doing him speedy justice, and by not harassing the freeholders with frequent and troublesome attendances to try every minute offence.]
I. Of this summary nature are trials of frauds against, or breaches of, the laws of the excise and other branches of the revenue (6), many of which offences may be inquired into and determined either by the commissioners of
(a) Vide sup. p. 298.
(6) As to the excise, stamps, taxes, customs, &c., and other
branches of the revenue, vide sup. bk. iv. pt. I. c. VII.
revenue(c), or before justices of the peace in the country(d). [And such convictions seem absolutely necessary for the due collection of the public money, and to be a species of mercy to the delinquents, who would be ruined by the expense and delay of frequent prosecutions by action or indictment; while the conduct of the commissioners has been such as seldom (if ever) to afford just grounds to complain of oppression (e).]
II. Another branch of summary proceedings, is that which takes place before justices of the peace, in respect of a variety of minor offences: viz. such as are prohibited only under pecuniary penalties (f). Some of these were formerly punishable at the court leet, while that court was still in use; but the greater part have been both created and placed under the summary jurisdiction of one or more of such justices, by the provisions of modern Acts of Parliament. But besides these minor offences, there are others of a graver description, which may also now be summarily dealt with in the same manner: and for which the punishment is in some cases a pecuniary penalty, and in others either a penalty or imprisonment with hard labour for a term of six months; or, in case of a second conviction, twelve months. Of these, our limits will only permit the (c) Thus by 43 Geo. 3, c. 99, s. 33,
bk. v. c. x. a person commanded by the com- (e) 4 Bl. Com. 281. missioners of taxes to pay duties, (f) Vide sop. p. 6. It may be may, if there be no sufficient dis- remarked here, that by the 28 & 29 tross on his premises, be committed Vict. c. 127, an offender adjudged to prison by two district commis- on summary conviction to pay a sioners of taxes without bail or penalty not exceeding 51., and who mainprize, till payment be made. fails to pay the same, may be comAnd there are other statutory pro- mitted to prison for a space of time visions for the protection of the (in no case exceeding two months) revenue, of an equally stringent in proportion to the amount of character.
penalty, according to a scale laid (d) See 4 & 5 Vict. c. 20, s. 26 down in the Act. The statute does et seq.; 15 & 16 Vict. c. 61; 16 & 17 not apply to inland revenue proseVict. c. 137, s. 269 et seq. As to cutions. the justices of the peace, vide sup.