A court is any person or institution with authority to judge or adjudicate as a government institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law. In both common law and civil law legal systems, courts are the central means for dispute resolution, it is understood that all people have an ability to bring their claims before a court; the rights of those accused of a crime include the right to present a defense before a court. The system of courts that interprets and applies the law is collectively known as the judiciary; the place where a court sits is known as a venue. The room where court proceedings occur is known as a courtroom, the building as a courthouse; the practical authority given to the court is known as its jurisdiction – the court's power to decide certain kinds of questions or petitions put to it. According to William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, a court is constituted by a minimum of three parties: the actor or plaintiff, who complains of an injury done.
It is usual in the superior courts to have barristers, attorneys or counsel, as assistants, though courts consist of additional barristers, reporters, a jury. The term "the court" is used to refer to the presiding officer or officials one or more judges; the judge or panel of judges may be collectively referred to as "the bench". In the United States, other common law jurisdictions, the term "court" by law is used to describe the judge himself or herself. In the United States, the legal authority of a court to take action is based on personal jurisdiction over the parties to the litigation and subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims asserted; the word court comes from the French cour, an enclosed yard, which derives from the Latin form cortem, the accusative case of cohors, which again means an enclosed yard or the occupants of such a yard. The English word court is a cognate of the Latin word hortus from Ancient Greek χόρτος, both referring to an enclosed space; the meaning of a judicial assembly is first attested in the 12th century, derives from the earlier usage to designate a sovereign and his entourage, which met to adjudicate disputes in such an enclosed yard.
The verb "to court", meaning to win favor, derives from the same source since people traveled to the sovereign's court to win his favor. The word jurisdiction comes from juris and dictio. Jurisdiction is defined as the official authority to make legal decisions and judgements over an individual or materialistic item within a territory."Whether a given court has jurisdiction to preside over a given case" is a key question in any legal action. Three basic components of jurisdiction are personal jurisdiction over an individual, jurisdiction over the particular subject matter or thing and territorial jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over a person refers to the full authority over a person regardless on where they live, jurisdiction over a particular subject matter refers to the authority over the said subject of legal cases involved in a case, lastly, territorial jurisdiction is the authority over a person within an x amount of space. Other concepts of jurisdiction include general jurisdiction, exclusive jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction, diversity jurisdiction.
Trial courts are courts. Sometimes termed "courts of first instance", trial courts have varying original jurisdiction. Trial courts may conduct trials with juries as the finders of fact or trials in which judges act as both finders of fact and finders of law. Juries are less common in court systems outside the Anglo-American common law tradition. Appellate courts are courts that hear appeals of trial courts; some courts, such as the Crown Court in England and Wales may have both trial and appellate jurisdictions. The two major legal traditions of the western world are the civil law courts and the common law courts; these two great legal traditions are similar, in that they are products of western culture although there are significant differences between the two traditions. Civil law courts are profoundly based upon Roman Law a civil body of law entitled "Corpus iuris civilis"; this theory of civil law was rediscovered around the end of the eleventh century and became a foundation for university legal education starting in Bologna and subsequently being taught throughout continental European Universities.
Civil law is ensconced in the French and German legal systems. Common law courts were established by English royal judges of the King's Council after the Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066; the royal judges created a body of law by combining local customs they were made aware of through traveling and visiting local jurisdictions. This common standard of law became known as "Common Law"; this legal tradition is practiced in the English and American l
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of the Senate; the Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C.. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 100 senators; the House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U. S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house and vote in congressional committees, introduce legislation; the members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms representing the people of a single constituency, known as a "district". Congressional districts are apportioned to states by population using the United States Census results, provided that each state has at least one congressional representative.
Each state, regardless of population or size, has two senators. There are 100 senators representing the 50 states; each senator is elected at-large in their state for a six-year term, with terms staggered, so every two years one-third of the Senate is up for election. To be eligible for election, a candidate must be aged at least 25 or 30, have been a citizen of the United States for seven or nine years, be an inhabitant of the state which they represent; the Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the Congress of the Confederation. Although not mandated, in practice since the 19th century, Congress members are affiliated with the Republican Party or with the Democratic Party and only with a third party or independents. Article One of the United States Constitution states, "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
The House and Senate are equal partners in the legislative process—legislation cannot be enacted without the consent of both chambers. However, the Constitution grants each chamber some unique powers; the Senate ratifies treaties and approves presidential appointments while the House initiates revenue-raising bills. The House initiates impeachment cases. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required before an impeached person can be forcibly removed from office; the term Congress can refer to a particular meeting of the legislature. A Congress covers two years; the Congress ends on the third day of January of every odd-numbered year. Members of the Senate are referred to as senators. Scholar and representative Lee H. Hamilton asserted that the "historic mission of Congress has been to maintain freedom" and insisted it was a "driving force in American government" and a "remarkably resilient institution". Congress is the "heart and soul of our democracy", according to this view though legislators achieve the prestige or name recognition of presidents or Supreme Court justices.
One analyst argues that it is not a reactive institution but has played an active role in shaping government policy and is extraordinarily sensitive to public pressure. Several academics described Congress: Congress reflects us in all our strengths and all our weaknesses, it reflects our regional idiosyncrasies, our ethnic and racial diversity, our multitude of professions, our shadings of opinion on everything from the value of war to the war over values. Congress is the government's most representative body... Congress is charged with reconciling our many points of view on the great public policy issues of the day. Congress is changing and is in flux. In recent times, the American south and west have gained House seats according to demographic changes recorded by the census and includes more minorities and women although both groups are still underrepresented. While power balances among the different parts of government continue to change, the internal structure of Congress is important to understand along with its interactions with so-called intermediary institutions such as political parties, civic associations, interest groups, the mass media.
The Congress of the United States serves two distinct purposes that overlap: local representation to the federal government of a congressional district by representatives and a state's at-large representation to the federal government by senators. Most incumbents seek re-election, their historical likelihood of winning subsequent elections exceeds 90 percent; the historical records of the House of Representatives and the Senate are maintained by the Center for Legislative Archives, a part of the National Archives and Records Administration. Congress is directly responsible for the governing of the District of Columbia, the current seat of the federal government; the First Continental Congress was a gathering of representatives from twelve of the thirteen British Colonies in North America. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, referring to the new nation as the "United States of America"; the Articles of Confederation in 1781 created the Congress of the Confederation, a
A trade union called a labour union or labor union, is an association of workers in a particular trade, industry, or company created for the purpose of securing improvement in pay, working conditions or social and political status through collective bargaining and working conditions through the increased bargaining power wielded by creation of a monopoly of the workers. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with employers; the most common purpose of these associations or unions is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment". This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring and promotion of workers, workplace safety and policies. Unions may organize a particular section of skilled workers, a cross-section of workers from various trades, or attempt to organize all workers within a particular industry; the agreements negotiated by a union are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers.
Trade unions traditionally have a constitution which details the governance of their bargaining unit and have governance at various levels of government depending on the industry that binds them to their negotiations and functioning. Originating in Great Britain, trade unions became popular in many countries during the Industrial Revolution. Trade unions may be composed of individual workers, past workers, apprentices or the unemployed. Trade union density, or the percentage of workers belonging to a trade union, is highest in the Nordic countries. Since the publication of the History of Trade Unionism by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the predominant historical view is that a trade union "is a continuous association on wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment." Karl Marx described trade unions thus: "The value of labour-power constitutes the conscious and explicit foundation of the trade unions, whose importance for the working class can scarcely be overestimated.
The trade unions aim at nothing less than to prevent the reduction of wages below the level, traditionally maintained in the various branches of industry. That is to say, they wish to prevent the price of labour-power from falling below its value". A modern definition by the Australian Bureau of Statistics states that a trade union is "an organization consisting predominantly of employees, the principal activities of which include the negotiation of rates of pay and conditions of employment for its members."Yet historian R. A. Leeson, in United we Stand, said: Two conflicting views of the trade-union movement strove for ascendancy in the nineteenth century: one the defensive-restrictive guild-craft tradition passed down through journeymen's clubs and friendly societies... the other the aggressive-expansionist drive to unite all'labouring men and women' for a'different order of things'. Recent historical research by Bob James in Craft, Trade or Mystery puts forward the view that trade unions are part of a broader movement of benefit societies, which includes medieval guilds, Oddfellows, friendly societies, other fraternal organizations.
The 18th century economist Adam Smith noted the imbalance in the rights of workers in regards to owners. In The Wealth of Nations, Book I, chapter 8, Smith wrote: We hear, it has been said, of the combination of masters, though of those of workmen, but whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate When workers combine, masters... never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combination of servants and journeymen. As Smith noted, unions were illegal for many years in most countries, although Smith argued that it should remain illegal to fix wages or prices by employees or employers. There were severe penalties for including execution. Despite this, unions were formed and began to acquire political power resulting in a body of labour law that not only legalized organizing efforts, but codified the relationship between employers and those employees organized into unions.
The origins of trade unions can be traced back to 18th century Britain, where the rapid expansion of industrial society taking place drew women, rural workers and immigrants into the work force in large numbers and in new roles. They encountered a large hostility in their early existence from employers and government groups; this pool of unskilled and semi-skilled labour spontaneously organized in fits and starts throughout its beginnings, would be an important arena for the development of trade unions. Trade unions have sometimes been seen as successors to the guilds of medieval Europe, though the relationship between the two is disputed, as the masters of the guilds employed workers who were not allowed to organize. Trade unions and collective bargaining were outlawed from no than the middle of the 14th century when the Ordinance of Labourers was enacted in the Kingdom of England but their way of thinking was the one that endured dur
The Pullman Strike was a nationwide railroad strike in the United States that lasted from May 11 to July 20, 1894, a turning point for US labor law. It pitted the American Railway Union against the Pullman Company, the main railroads, the federal government of the United States under President Grover Cleveland; the strike and boycott shut down much of the nation's freight and passenger traffic west of Detroit, Michigan. The conflict began in Pullman, Chicago, on May 11 when nearly 4,000 factory employees of the Pullman Company began a wildcat strike in response to recent reductions in wages. A total of 30 workers were killed by their allies. Most of the factory workers who built Pullman cars lived in the "company town" of Pullman on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois; the industrialist George Pullman had designed it ostensibly as a model community. Pullman had a diverse work force, he wanted to hire African-Americans for certain jobs at the company. Pullman used other campaigns to help bring workers into his company.
When his company laid off workers and lowered wages, it did not reduce rents, the workers called for a strike. Among the reasons for the strike were the absence of democracy within the town of Pullman and its politics, the rigid paternalistic control of the workers by the company, excessive water and gas rates, a refusal by the company to allow workers to buy and own houses, they had not yet formed a union. Founded in 1893 by Eugene V. Debs, the ARU was an organization of unskilled railroad workers. Debs signed up many of the disgruntled factory workers; when the Pullman Company refused recognition of the ARU or any negotiations, ARU called a strike against the factory, but it showed no sign of success. To win the strike, Debs decided to stop the movement of Pullman cars on railroads; the over-the-rail Pullman employees did not go on strike. Debs and the ARU called a massive boycott against all trains, it affected most rail lines west of Detroit and at its peak involved some 250,000 workers in 27 states.
The Railroad brotherhoods and the American Federation of Labor opposed the boycott, the General Managers' Association of the railroads coordinated the opposition. Thirty people were killed in response to riots and sabotage; the federal government obtained an injunction against the union and other boycott leaders, ordering them to stop interfering with trains that carried mail cars. After the strikers refused, President Grover Cleveland ordered in the Army to stop the strikers from obstructing the trains. Violence broke out in many cities, the strike collapsed. Defended by a team including Clarence Darrow, Debs was convicted of violating a court order and sentenced to prison. During a severe recession, the Pullman Palace Car Company cut wages as demand for new passenger cars plummeted and the company's revenue dropped. A delegation of workers complained that wages had been cut but not rents at their company housing or other costs in the company town; the company owner, George Pullman, refused to go to arbitration.
Many of the Pullman factory workers joined the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, which supported their strike by launching a boycott in which ARU members refused to run trains containing Pullman cars. At the time of the strike 35% of Pullman workers were members of the ARU; the plan was to force the railroads to bring Pullman to compromise. Debs began the boycott on June 26, 1894. Within four days, 125,000 workers on twenty-nine railroads had "walked off" the job rather than handle Pullman cars; the railroads coordinated their response through the General Managers' Association, formed in 1886 and included 24 lines linked to Chicago. The railroads began hiring replacement workers. Many blacks were recruited as strikebreakers and crossed picket lines, as they feared that the racism expressed by the American Railway Union would lock them out of another labor market; this added racial tension to the union's predicament. On June 29, 1894, Debs hosted a peaceful meeting to rally support for the strike from railroad workers at Blue Island, Illinois.
Afterward, groups within the crowd became enraged and set fire to nearby buildings and derailed a locomotive. Elsewhere in the western states, sympathy strikers prevented transportation of goods by walking off the job, obstructing railroad tracks, or threatening and attacking strikebreakers; this increased the demand for federal action. Under direction from President Grover Cleveland, the US Attorney General Richard Olney dealt with the strike. Olney had been a railroad attorney, still received a $10,000 retainer from the Chicago and Quincy Railroad, in comparison to his $8,000 salary as Attorney General. Olney obtained an injunction in federal court barring union leaders from supporting the strike and demanding that the strikers cease their activities or face being fired. Debs and other leaders of the ARU ignored the injunction, federal troops were called up to enforce it. While Debs had been reluctant to start the strike, he threw his energies into organizing it, he called a general strike of all union members in Chicago, but this was opposed by Samuel Gompers, head of the AFL, other established unions, it failed.
City by city the federal forces broke the ARU efforts to shut down the national transportation system. Thousands of United States Marshals and some 12,000 United States Army troops, commanded by Brigadier General Nelson Miles, took action. President Cleveland wanted the trains moving again, based on his legal
A contract is a legally-binding agreement which recognises and governs the rights and duties of the parties to the agreement. A contract is enforceable because it meets the requirements and approval of the law. An agreement involves the exchange of goods, money, or promises of any of those. In the event of breach of contract, the law awards the injured party access to legal remedies such as damages and cancellation. In the Anglo-American common law, formation of a contract requires an offer, consideration, a mutual intent to be bound; each party must have capacity to enter the contract. Although most oral contracts are binding, some types of contracts may require formalities such as being in writing or by deed. In the civil law tradition, contract law is a branch of the law of obligations. At common law, the elements of a contract are offer, intention to create legal relations and legality of both form and content. Not all agreements are contractual, as the parties must be deemed to have an intention to be bound.
A so-called gentlemen's agreement is one, not intended to be enforceable, "binding in honour only". In order for a contract to be formed, the parties must reach mutual assent; this is reached through offer and an acceptance which does not vary the offer's terms, known as the "mirror image rule". An offer is a definite statement of the offeror's willingness to be bound should certain conditions be met. If a purported acceptance does vary the terms of an offer, it is not an acceptance but a counteroffer and, therefore a rejection of the original offer; the Uniform Commercial Code disposes of the mirror image rule in §2-207, although the UCC only governs transactions in goods in the USA. As a court cannot read minds, the intent of the parties is interpreted objectively from the perspective of a reasonable person, as determined in the early English case of Smith v Hughes, it is important to note that where an offer specifies a particular mode of acceptance, only an acceptance communicated via that method will be valid.
Contracts may be unilateral. A bilateral contract is an agreement in which each of the parties to the contract makes a promise or set of promises to each other. For example, in a contract for the sale of a home, the buyer promises to pay the seller $200,000 in exchange for the seller's promise to deliver title to the property; these common contracts take place in the daily flow of commerce transactions, in cases with sophisticated or expensive precedent requirements, which are requirements that must be met for the contract to be fulfilled. Less common are unilateral contracts in which one party makes a promise, but the other side does not promise anything. In these cases, those accepting the offer are not required to communicate their acceptance to the offeror. In a reward contract, for example, a person who has lost a dog could promise a reward if the dog is found, through publication or orally; the payment could be additionally conditioned on the dog being returned alive. Those who learn of the reward are not required to search for the dog, but if someone finds the dog and delivers it, the promisor is required to pay.
In the similar case of advertisements of deals or bargains, a general rule is that these are not contractual offers but an "invitation to treat", but the applicability of this rule is disputed and contains various exceptions. The High Court of Australia stated that the term unilateral contract is "unscientific and misleading". In certain circumstances, an implied contract may be created. A contract is implied in fact if the circumstances imply that parties have reached an agreement though they have not done so expressly. For example, John Smith, a former lawyer may implicitly enter a contract by visiting a doctor and being examined. A contract, implied in law is called a quasi-contract, because it is not in fact a contract. Quantum meruit claims are an example. Where something is advertised in a newspaper or on a poster, the advertisement will not constitute an offer but will instead be an invitation to treat, an indication that one or both parties are prepared to negotiate a deal. An exception arises if the advertisement makes a unilateral promise, such as the offer of a reward, as in the famous case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co, decided in nineteenth-century England.
The company, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, advertised a smoke ball that would, if sniffed "three times daily for two weeks", prevent users from catching the'flu. If the smoke ball failed to prevent'flu, the company promised that they would pay the user £100, adding that they had "deposited £1,000 in the Alliance Bank to show our sincerity in the matter"; when Mrs Carlill sued for the money, the company argued the advert should not be taken as a serious binding offer. Although an invitation to treat cannot be accepted, it should not be ignored, for it may affect the offer. For instance, where an offer is made in response to an invitation to treat, the offer may incorporate the terms of the invitation to treat. If, as in the Boots case, the offer is made by an action without any
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U. S. 483, was a landmark decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that American state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Court's unanimous decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," and therefore violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. However, the decision's 14 pages did not spell out any sort of method for ending racial segregation in schools, the Court's second decision in Brown II only ordered states to desegregate "with all deliberate speed"; the case originated with a lawsuit filed by the Brown family, a family of black Americans in Topeka, after their local public school district refused to enroll their daughter in the school closest to their home, instead requiring her to ride a bus to a blacks-only school further away.
A number of other black families joined the lawsuit, the Supreme Court combined their case with several other similar lawsuits from other areas of the United States. At trial, the district court ruled in favor of the school board based on the Supreme Court's precedent in the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court had ruled that racial segregation was not in itself a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause if the facilities in question were otherwise equal, a doctrine that had come to be known as "separate but equal"; the Browns appealed to the Supreme Court. The Court's decision in Brown overruled Plessy v. Ferguson by declaring that the "separate but equal" notion was unconstitutional for American public schools and educational facilities, it paved the way for integration and was a major victory of the Civil Rights Movement, a model for many future impact litigation cases. In the American South the "Deep South", where racial segregation was entrenched, the reaction to Brown among white people was angry and stubborn.
Many Southern governmental and political leaders embraced a plan known as "Massive Resistance", created by Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd, in order to frustrate attempts to force them to de-segregate their school systems. Four years in the case of Cooper v. Aaron, the Court reaffirmed its ruling in Brown, explicitly stated that state officials and legislators had no power to nullify its ruling. For much of the sixty years preceding the Brown case, race relations in the United States had been dominated by racial segregation; this policy had been endorsed in 1896 by the United States Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that as long as the separate facilities for the separate races were equal, segregation did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment; the plaintiffs in Brown asserted that this system of racial separation, while masquerading as providing separate but equal treatment of both white and black Americans, instead perpetuated inferior accommodations and treatment for black Americans.
Racial segregation in education varied from the 17 states that required racial segregation to the 16 in which it was prohibited. Brown was influenced by UNESCO's 1950 Statement, signed by a wide variety of internationally renowned scholars, titled The Race Question; this declaration denounced previous attempts at scientifically justifying racism as well as morally condemning racism. Another work that the Supreme Court cited was Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. Myrdal had been a signatory of the UNESCO declaration; the research performed by the educational psychologists Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark influenced the Court's decision; the Clarks' "doll test" studies presented substantial arguments to the Supreme Court about how segregation affected black schoolchildren's mental status. The United States and the Soviet Union were both at the height of the Cold War during this time, U. S. officials, including Supreme Court Justices, were aware of the harm that segregation and racism played on America's international image.
When Justice William O. Douglas traveled to India in 1950, the first question he was asked was, "Why does America tolerate the lynching of Negroes?" Douglas wrote that he had learned from his travels that "the attitude of the United States toward its colored minorities is a powerful factor in our relations with India." Chief Justice Earl Warren, nominated to the Supreme Court by President Eisenhower, echoed Douglas's concerns in a 1954 speech to the American Bar Association, proclaiming that "Our American system like all others is on trial both at home and abroad... the extent to which we maintain the spirit of our constitution with its Bill of Rights, will in the long run do more to make it both secure and the object of adulation than the number of hydrogen bombs we stockpile." In 1951, a class action suit was filed against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kansas in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiffs were thirteen Topeka parents on behalf of their 20 children.
The suit called for the school district to reverse its policy of racial segregation. The Topeka Board of Education operated separate elementary schools under an 1879 Kansas law, which permitted districts to maintain separate elementary school facilities for black and white students in 12 communities with populations over 15,000; the plaintiffs had been recruited by the leadership of the Topeka NAACP. Notable among the Topeka NAACP leaders were the chairman McKinley Burnett.
Court of Chancery
The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness of the common law. The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including trusts, land law, the estates of lunatics and the guardianship of infants, its initial role was somewhat different: as an extension of the Lord Chancellor's role as Keeper of the King's Conscience, the Court was an administrative body concerned with conscientious law. Thus the Court of Chancery had a far greater remit than the common law courts, whose decisions it had the jurisdiction to overrule for much of its existence, was far more flexible; until the 19th century, the Court of Chancery could apply a far wider range of remedies than common law courts, such as specific performance and injunctions, had some power to grant damages in special circumstances. With the shift of the Exchequer of Pleas towards a common law court and loss of its equitable jurisdiction by the Administration of Justice Act 1841, the Chancery became the only national equitable body in the English legal system.
Academics estimate that the Court of Chancery formally split from and became independent of the curia regis in the mid-14th century, at which time it consisted of the Lord Chancellor and his personal staff, the Chancery. An administrative body with some judicial duties, the Chancery experienced an explosive growth in its work during the 15th century under the House of York, which academics attribute to its becoming an entirely judicial body. From the time of Elizabeth I onwards the Court was criticised for its slow pace, large backlogs, high costs; those problems persisted until its dissolution, despite being mitigated somewhat by reforms during the 19th century. Attempts at fusing the Chancery with the common law courts began in the 1850s, succeeded with the 1873 and 1875 Supreme Court of Judicature Acts, which dissolved the Chancery and created a new unified High Court of Justice, with the Chancery Division – one of three divisions of the High Court – succeeding the Court of Chancery as an equitable body.
For much of its existence the Court was formally led by the Lord Chancellor, assisted by the judges of the common law courts. The staff of the court included a large number of clerks, led by the Master of the Rolls, who heard cases on his own. In 1813 a Vice-Chancellor was appointed to deal with the Chancery's increasing backlogs, two more were appointed in 1841. Offices of the Chancery were sold by the Lord Chancellor for much of its history, raising large amounts of money. Many of the clerks and other officials were sinecures who, in lieu of wages, charged exorbitant fees to process cases, one of the main reasons why the cost of bringing a case to the Chancery was so high; the 19th century saw the abolition of many sinecure offices and the institution of a wage and pension for the Lord Chancellor to curb the sale of offices, the right to appoint officials was transferred from the Chancellor to the Crown. The Court of Chancery originated, as did the other High Courts before 1875, in the Norman curia regis or King's Council, maintained by most early rulers of England after 1066.
Under the feudal system, the Council was made up of the Monarch, the Great Officers of the Crown and anyone else the Monarch allowed to attend. Its jurisdiction was unlimited, with executive and legislative functions; this large body contained lawyers and members of the Church, many of whom lived far from London. It soon became apparent; as a result, a smaller curia was formed to deal with the regular business of the country, this soon split into various courts: first the exchequer of pleas, to deal with finance, the Court of Common Pleas, to deal with "common" cases. The Chancery started as the personal staff of the Lord Chancellor, described as "a great secretarial bureau, a home office, a foreign office, a ministry of justice"; the earliest reference to legal issues being sent to him is from 1280, when Edward I of England, annoyed with the number of cases coming to him which could have been dealt with by other elements of his administration, passed a statute saying that: all petitions that touch the Seal shall go first to the Chancellor, those that touch the Exchequer to the Exchequer, those that touch the justices or the law of the land to the justices, those that touch the Jurie to the justices of the Jurie.
And if the matters are so great, or so much of grace, that the Chancellor and the others cannot do what is asked without the King they shall take them to the King to know his will, that no petition come before the King and his Council except by the hands of the said Chancellor and the other chief ministers. Records show dozens of early cases being sent to the Lord Chancellor and Master of the Rolls, but at the time the Chancellor had no specific jurisdiction to deal with them. Under Edward II the Chancellor dedicated set days to hearing pleas, as documented in the records of the Parliament of Lincoln in 1315, which show that some cases were heard by his personal staff, the Chancery, not by the Chancellor. By 1320 requests were sent there, heard by the judges of the common law courts, with the rules used to settle cases being those of "law or reason", sometimes "reason", a far more liberal and adjustable approach than the common law; the Chancery came to pr