Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873



Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1873

(36 & 37 Vict.) CHAPTER 66.

An Act for the constitution of a Supreme Court, and for other purposes relating to the better Administration of Justice in England; and to authorise the transfer to the Appellate Division of such Supreme Court of the Jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council.

[5th August 1873]

Whereas it is expedient to constitute a Supreme Court, and to make provision for the better administration of justice in England:

And whereas it is also expedient to alter and amend the law relating to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council:

Be it enacted by the Queen'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 the authority of the same, as follows:

Preliminary.

Preliminary.

S-1 Short title.

1 Short title.

1. This Act may be cited for all purposes as the ‘Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1873.’

S-2 Commencement of Act.

2 Commencement of Act.

2. This Act, except any provision thereof which is declared to take effect on the passing of this Act, shall commence and come into operation on the second day of November 1874.

I

PART I.

Constitution and Judges of Supreme Court.

Constitution and Judges of Supreme Court.

S-3 Union of existing Courts into one Supreme Court.

3 Union of existing Courts into one Supreme Court.

3. From and after the time appointed for the commencement of this Act, the several Courts herein-after mentioned, (that is to say,) the High Court of Chancery of England, the Court of Queen's Bench, the Court of Common Pleas at Westminster, the Court of Exchequer, the High Court of Admiralty, the Court of Probate, the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, and the London Court of Bankruptcy, shall be united and consolidated together, and shall constitute, under and subject to the provisions of this Act, one Supreme Court of Judicature in England.

S-4 Division of Supreme Court into a Court of original and a Court of appellate jurisdiction.

4 Division of Supreme Court into a Court of original and a Court of appellate jurisdiction.

4. The said Supreme Court shall consist of two permanent Divisions, one of which, under the name of ‘Her Majesty's High Court of Justice,’ shall have and exercise original jurisdiction, with such appellate jurisdiction from inferior Courts as is herein-after mentioned, and the other of which, under the name of ‘Her Majesty's Court of Appeal,’ shall have and exercise appellate jurisdiction, with such original jurisdiction as herein-after mentioned as may be incident to the determination of any appeal.

S-5 Constitution of High Court of Justice.

5 Constitution of High Court of Justice.

5. Her Majesty's High Court of Justice shall be constituted as follows:—The first Judges thereof shall be the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Master of the Rolls, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, the several Vice-Chancellors of the High Court of Chancery, the Judge of the Court of Probate and of the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, the several Puisne Justices of the Courts of Queen's Bench and Common Pleas respectively, the several Junior Barons of the Court of Exchequer, and the Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, except such, if any, of the aforesaid Judges as shall be appointed ordinary Judges of the Court of Appeal.

Subject to the provisions herein-after contained, whenever the office of a Judge of the said High Court shall become vacant, a new Judge may be appointed thereto by Her Majesty, by Letters Patent. All persons to be hereafter appointed to fill the places of the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Master of the Rolls, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and the Lord Chief Baron, and their successors respectively, shall continue to be appointed to the same respective offices, with the same precedence, and by the same respective titles, and in the same manner, respectively, as heretofore. Every Judge who shall be appointed to fill the place of any other Judge of the said High Court of Justice shall be styled in his appointment ‘Judge of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice,’ and shall be appointed in the same manner in which the Puisne Justices and Junior Barons of the Superior Courts of Common Law have been heretofore appointed: Provided always, that if at the commencement of this Act the number of Puisne Justices and Junior Barons who shall become Judges of the said High Court shall exceed twelve in the whole, no new Judge of the said High Court shall be appointed in the place of any such Puisne Justice or Junior Baron who shall die or resign while such whole number shall exceed twelve, it being intended that the permanent number of Judges of the said High Court shall not exceed twenty-one.

All the Judges of the said Court shall have in all respects, save as in this Act is otherwise expressly provided, equal power, authority, and jurisdiction; and shall be addressed in the manner which is now customary in addressing the Judges of the Superior Courts of Common Law.

The Lord Chief Justice of England for the time being shall be President of the said High Court of Justice in the absence of the Lord Chancellor.

S-6 Constitution of Court of Appeal.

6 Constitution of Court of Appeal.

6. Her Majesty's Court of Appeal shall be constituted as follows:—There shall be five ex officio Judges thereof, and also so many ordinary Judges (not exceeding nine at any one time) as Her Majesty shall from time to time appoint. The ex officio Judges shall be the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Master of the Rolls, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. The first ordinary Judges of the said Court shall be the existing Lords Justices of Appeal in Chancery, the existing salaried Judges of the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council, appointed under the ‘Judicial Committee Act, 1871,’ and such three other persons as Her Majesty may be pleased to appoint by Letters Patent; such appointment may be made either within one month before or at any time after the day appointed for the commencement of this Act, but if made before shall take effect at the commencement of this Act.

Besides the said ex officio Judges and ordinary Judges, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty (if she shall think fit) from time to time to appoint, under Her Royal Sign Manual, as additional Judges of the Court of Appeal, any persons who, having held in England the office of a Judge of the Superior Courts of Westminster hereby united and consolidated, or of Her Majesty's Supreme Court hereby constituted, or in Scotland the office of Lord Justice General or Lord Justice Clerk, or in Ireland the office of Lord Chancellor or Lord Justice of Appeal, or in India the office of Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal, or Madras, or Bombay, shall respectively signify in writing their willingness to serve as such additional Judges in the Court of Appeal. No such additional Judge shall be deemed to have undertaken the duty of sitting in the Court of Appeal when prevented from so doing by attendance in the House of Lords, or on the discharge of any other public duty, or by any other reasonable impediment.

The ordinary and additional Judges of the Court of Appeal shall be styled Lords Justices of Appeal. All the Judges of the said Court shall have, in all respects, save as in this Act is otherwise expressly mentioned, equal power, authority, and jurisdiction.

Whenever the office of an ordinary Judge of the Court of Appeal becomes vacant, a new Judge may be appointed thereto by Her Majesty by Letters Patent.

The Lord Chancellor for the time being shall be President of the Court of Appeal.

S-7 Vacancies by resignation of Judges and effect of vacancies generally.

7 Vacancies by resignation of Judges and effect of vacancies generally.

7. The office of any Judge of the said High Court of Justice, or of the said Court of Appeal, may be vacated by resignation in writing, under his hand, addressed to the Lord Chancellor, without any deed of surrender; and the office of any Judge of the said High Court shall be vacated by his being appointed a Judge of the said Court of Appeal. The said Courts respectively shall be deemed to be duly constituted during and notwithstanding any vacancy in the office of any Judge of either of such Courts.

S-8 Qualifications of Judges. Not required to be Serjeants-at-Law.

8 Qualifications of Judges. Not required to be Serjeants-at-Law.

8. Any barrister of not less than ten years standing shall be qualified to be appointed a Judge of the said High Court of Justice; and any person who if this Act had not passed would have been qualified by law to be appointed a Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal in Chancery, or has been a Judge of the High Court of Justice of not less than one year's standing, shall be qualified to be appointed an ordinary Judge of the said Court of Appeal: Provided, that no person appointed a Judge of either of the said Courts shall henceforth be required to take, or to have taken, the degree of Serjeant-at-Law.

S-9 Tenure of office of Judges, and oaths of office. Judges not to sit in the House of Commons.

9 Tenure of office of Judges, and oaths of office. Judges not to sit in the House of Commons.

9. All the Judges of the High Court of Justice, and of the Court of Appeal respectively, shall hold their offices for life, subject to a power of removal by Her Majesty, on an address presented to Her Majesty by both Houses of Parliament. No Judge of either of the said Courts shall be capable of being elected to or of sitting in the House of Commons. Every Judge of either of the said Courts (other than the...

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