Summary Justice in the City: A Selection of Cases Heard at the Guildhall Justice Room, 1752-1781

Summary Justice in the City: A Selection of Cases Heard at the Guildhall Justice Room, 1752-1781


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Summary Justice in the City: A Selection of Cases Heard at the Guildhall Justice Room, 1752-1781 by Greg T. Smith

For centuries, the City of London's Lord Mayor and Aldermen have headed various courts and tribunals as part of their official obligations. In the City's Guildhall, Londoners from all walks of life could appear before an alderman sitting as a magistrate in the "justice room" and initiate a criminal complaint when they were the victims of crime. But what actually happened in those initial hearings between the accuser, the accused and the magistrate has remained largely obscured to history. These records shed light on the earliest phases of a criminal prosecution and reveal the routines of criminal justice administration in the eighteenth-century metropolis. From the fragmentary minutes of the proceedings conducted before London's aldermen, who sat for a part of every working day as Justices of the Peace, we learn of the petty squabbles of the City's poor with parish officials, the ready resort to physical violence in public and private spheres, the steady campaign against prostitution, and the growing professionalism of the parish constables who policed London before the arrival of the Metropolitan Police.The records will be of interest to historians of London, social historians of crime, genealogists and scholars interested in summary or pre-trial procedures in early modern England; they are presented here with introduction and explanatory notes. Greg T. Smith is Associate Professor of History at the University of Manitoba.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780900952531
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 08/15/2013
Series: London Record Society Series
Pages: 399
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.70(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Abbreviations viii

Introduction xi

The powers of London's alderman JPs xii

Guildhall as the venue for City justice xiii

Attorneys in waiting and clerks xv

The powers of the Justice of the Peace xvii

Business of the Guildhall Justice Room xix

Offences against the peace xxii

Guildhall Justice Room and the regulation of the City and the poor xxii

Constables and policing xxiii

Justice rooms as 'courts' xxv

Outcomes and punishments xxv

Settled and discharged xxvi

Fines and imprisonment xxvi

Impressments and philanthropic organizations xxvi

Editorial Method xxviii

Minute Books of the Guildhall Justice Room 1752-1781 1

Index 307

London Record Society 367

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