ARCHES, COURT OF, is the su preme court of appeal in the arch bishopric of Canterbury. It derives its name from having formerly been held in the church of St. Mary le Bow (de Arcu bus), from which place it was removed about 1567 to the Common Hall of Doc, tors' Commons, near St. Paul's Church, where it is now held. The acting judge of the court is termed Official Principal of the Court of Arches, or more com monly Dean of the Arches. This court has ordinary jurisdiction iu all spiritual causes arising within the parish of St Mary le Bow and twelve other parishes, which are called a deanery, and are ex empt from the authority of the bishop of London. The Court of Arches has also a general appellate jurisdiction in ecclesiastical causes arising within the province of Canterbury, and it has origi nal jurisdiction on subtraction of legacy given by wills which have been proved in the prerogative court of that province. The Dean of the Arches for the time being is president of the College of Doctors of Law, who practise in tue Ec clesiastical and Admiralty Courts, incor porated by royal charter in 1768, and the advocates and proctors who practise in these courts receive their admission in the Arches Court. The judge is the deputy of the archbishop, who is the judge of the court. The Dean of Arches has al ways been selected from the College of Advocates. There are four terms in each year, and four sessions in each term. An appeal lay from this court to the Court of Delegates, or more strictly to the king in chancery (25 Henry VIII. c. 19), by whom delqates were appointed to hear each cause, the appeal being to him as head of the church. in place of the Pope. By 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 92, ap peals are transferred from the Court of Delegates to the king in council. The ecclesiastical courts are competent to en tertain criminal proceedings in certain cases, and also to take cognizance of causes of defamation ; for which last offence persons were formerly directed to do penance, but this has very rarely been required by the Arches Court of late years. There is no salary attached to the office of judge; and his income arising from fees, as also that of the registrar, is very small. One judge has for many years presided in the Arches and in the Prerogative Court.
There are no bye-laws, regulations, or resolutions made by proctors of the Arches or Prerogative Courts of Canter bury, relating to the articling of clerks to proctors, or to the admission of proc tors. The articling of clerks and ad mission of proctors are regulated by a statute of the Archbishop of Canterbury, bearing date the 30th of June, 1696. By this statute, the number of proctors hav ing then increased to forty, it was, among other things, ordained that there should be thirty-four proctors esercent in the Arches Court, each of whom should have power and privilege to take clerks ap prentices, and that the remaining proctors should be esteemed and called supernu meraries, who should not have power to take such clerks until they should have succeeded into the number of the thirty four ; and that no proctor should take any clerk apprentice until he should have continued =men* in the Arches Court five years ; that the term of service of a clerk should be seven years, and that no proctor having one such clerk should be capable of taking another at the same time, until the first should have served five years. It is in practice required
that a proctor shall have been five years on the list of the thirty-four seniors be• fore being allowed to take an articled clerk. There are two rules observed with respect to the qualification of ar ticled clerks which are not contained in the annexed statute ; one, by which the age of the clerk is required to be four teen, and not above eighteen years ; and the other, that such clerk should not have been a stipendiary writing-clerk. The above rule with respect to age has, under particular circumstances, been occasion ally dispensed with by the judge. The date of and authority for these two rules are not known. [Bsnitima.] The ordinances and decrees of Sir Richard Raines, Judge of the Preroga tive Court, mentioned in the statute, as made in 1686, do not appear to have been registered. It is conceived that they must have been rules and regulations to be observed in the conduct of suits, and not to the articling of clerks on admis sion of proctors, which acts are done only before the Official Principal of the Arches Court, or his surrogate, and are registered in the Arches Court. (Par liamentary Paper, 327, Sess. 1844.) In the session of 1844 a bill was brought into the House of Commons " For facilitating Appeals to the Court of Arches." The preamble stated that it " would tend to the saving of expense, and to the better administration of justice, if either litigant party in any contested suit in any Ecclesiastical Court, either in the province of Canterbury or in the province of York, had the right to remove such suit into the Arches Court of Can terbury." § 1 provided that all persons may (if they think fit) commence a suit in the Court of Arches, and that the Court of Arches shall have as full power and jurisdiction to proceed in and adjudi cate upon such suit, and to decree final or interlocutory sentence, as if such suit had come before the Court of Arches by letters of request. § 4 provided that pro teas of Court of Arches should extend to England and Wales; and § 5, that the Dean of Arches might order examination to be taken in India and the Colonies, as in 1 Geo. IV. c. 101. This bill, how ever, was not carried.