Portal:Law of England and Wales/Selected article/6

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Lord Lindley

The Serjeants-at-Law was an order of barristers at the English bar. The position was centuries old; there are writs dating to 1300 which identify them as descended from figures in France prior to the Norman Conquest. The Serjeants were the oldest formally created order in England, having been brought into existence as a body by Henry II. The order rose during the 16th century as a small, elite group of lawyers who took much of the work in the central common law courts. They had for many centuries exclusive jurisdiction over the Court of Common Pleas, and precedence over all other lawyers when appearing in other courts. With the creation of Queen's Counsel during the reign of Elizabeth I, the order gradually began to decline, with each monarch opting to create more Queen's Counsel. The Serjeants' exclusive jurisdictions were ended during the 19th century, and with the Judicature Act 1873 coming into force in 1875, it was felt that there was no need to have such figures, and no more were created. The last Serjeant-at-Law was Lord Lindley (pictured); on his death in 1921 the order ceased to exist. (more...)