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A number of statutory references to high misdemeanors have subsequently been repealed, including:



See also[edit]