Semayne's case

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Semayne's Case (1604) 5 Coke Rep. 91, is an English common law case reported by Sir Edward Coke, who was then the Attorney General of England. In the US, it is recognised as establishing the "knock and announce" rule.


Richard Gresham and George Berisford were joint tenants of a house in Blackfriars, London. Berisford died, leaving his effects, including some papers, to Peter Semayne. Semayne sued to have the effects delivered to him, so the Sheriff of London, with a valid writ, entered the house by breaking down the doors.


The holding of the case can best be summed by Coke's words,

The case is also famous for Coke's quote;

which became the popular proverb "an Englishman's home is his castle"[3]

See also[edit]