Home >> Cyclopedia Of Knowledge >> Germanic Mpire to King >> Information


king, filed, informations and court

INFORMATION, an accusation or complaint exhibited before the Court of King's Bench, against a person for some misdemeanor. It differs from an indict ment [INDICTMENT] principally in this, that an indictment is an accusation found by the oath of a grand jury, whereas an information is simply the allegation of the person who exhibits it. Informations are of two sorts : those which are partly at the suit of the king, and partly at that of a subject ; and secondly, such as are in the name of the king only. Informa tions, which are partly at the suit of the king and partly at that of a subject, are generally exhibited upon penal statutes, which impose a penalty on the offender, if he is convicted, one part of which is for the king and the other part for the informer. But no such information, when the penalty is divided between the in former and the crown, can be brought by any common informer when one year after the commission of the offence is ex pired ; nor can it be brought on behalf of the crown after the lapse of two years more ; nor when the penalty is originally given to the king only, can it be brought when two years since the commission of the offence have expired (31 Eliz. c. 5).

Informations exhibited in the name of the king alone are either filed ex-officio by the king's attorney-general at his own discretion; when they are called ex-officio informations ; or they are exhibited in the name of the king by some private person or informer, and are filed by the master of the crown office. Ex-officio

informations are filed iu the case of great misdemeanors which disturb the king's government, or interfere with the dis charge of his kingly office. Those filed by the master of the crown office relate to riots, batteries, libels, which disturb the public peace, but do not directly tend to disturb the king's government. No information can be filed, except those in the name of the attorney-general, without the leave of the court of King's Bench, and the application for leave must be sup ported by affidavits which the party com plained of has an opportunity of answer ing. When any information is filed, it must be tried in the usual way by a petit jury in the county in which the offence was committed. (Blackstone, Corn. 307 ; 4 & 5 Will. and Mary, c. 18.) When it is necessary for the court of chancery to interfere with the regulation or management of any charity, the at torney-general as informant, on the rela tion of some person (who is called the relator), files an information in the court of chancery for the purpose of bringing the case before the court. This is simply called an information : the other infor mations here mentioned are distinguished by the name of criminal informations.

If the office of attorney-general is vacant, the solicitor-general has power to file informations.