High misdemeanor

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High Misdemeanor is an archaic term in English Law for a number of positive misprisions, neglects and contempts. A good example of this is treason. The most important example being that of maladministration in high office.

Examples in English Law[edit]

A number of United Kingdom Statutes refer to particular crimes as being high misdemeanors:

  • Discharging or aiming firearms, or throwing or using any offensive matter or weapon, with intent to injure or alarm the Sovereign [1]
  • Where a Roman Catholic advises the Crown on the appointment to offices of the Established Church [2]
  • Where a Jew advises the Crown on the appointment to offices of the Churches of England, Ireland and Scotland [3]

Blackstone describes a number of offences as being high misdemeanors, for example:

  • treasonable words
  • receiving stolen goods
  • prison break
  • maladministration of high office
  • firing of one's house in a town

A number of statutory references to high misdemeanors have subsequently been repealed, including:



  1. ^ Section 2, Treason Act 1842
  2. ^ Section 18, Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829
  3. ^ Section 4, Jews Relief Act 1858
  4. ^ Section 25, Parliamentary Elections (Ireland) Act 1820 and Section 75, Parliamentary Elections (Ireland) Act 1823

See also[edit]