INFORMATION, in law, may be de fined an accusation or complaint exhibit ed against a person for some criminal of fence. It differs principally from an in dictment in this, that an indictment is an accusation found by the oath of twelve men, but an information is only the alle gation of the officer who exhibits it. In formations are of two kinds ; first, those which are partly at the suit of the king, and partly at the suit of a subject ; and secondly, such as are only in the name of the king : the former are usually brought upon penal statutes, which inflict a penal ty on conviction of the offender, one part to the use of the king, and another to the use of the informer, and are a sort of qui tam, or popular actions, only carried on by a criminal instead of a civil process. In formations that are exhibited in the name of the king alone are also of two kinds ; first, those which are truly and properly his own suits, and filed ex ojcio by his own immediate officer, the Attorney General; secondly, those in which, though the King is the nominal prosecutor, yet it is at the relation of some private person, or common informer, and they are filed by the Master of the Crown-office, under the express direction of the court. And
when an information is filed in either of these ways, it mast be tried by a petit jury of the county where the offence arises ; after which, if the defendant be found guilty, he must resort to the Court of King's Bench for his punishment.— Common informers, by 18 Elizabeth, c. 5, are to pay costs in case of failure of suit upon informations, unless the judge cer tifies that there was a reasonable cause for prosecuting.