MARKET, in law Latin mercaturn, a public place and fixed time for the meet ing of buyers and sellers. A legal market can exist only by virtue of a charter from the crown or by immemorial usage, from I which it will be presumed that a royal charter once existed, although it can be no longer produced. A market is usually granted to the owner of the soil in which it is appointed to be held, who, as such grantee, becomes the owner, or lord, of the market. In upland towns, that is, towns which, not being walled, had not attained the dignity of boroughs, markets were frequently granted to lords of ma nors; but in walled towns or boroughs, particularly in such as were incorporated, the ownership of the soil having usually, by grant from the crown, or other lords of I whom the borough was originally holden, been vested in the incorporated burgesses, the practice has commonly been to grant markets to the municipal body.
The prerogative of conferring a right to hold a market is however subject to this limitation, that the grant must not be prejudicial to others, more especially to the owners of existing markets. In order that the crown may not be surprised into the making of an improper grant, the first step is to issue a writ Ad quod dam num, under which the sheriff of the county is to summon a jury before him to inquire whether the proposed grant will be to the damage of the king or of any of his subjects. This writ must be exe cuted in a fair and open manner, and the sheriff is bound to receive evidence ten dered against, as well as in favour of, the grant. But as the writ does not purport to affect the interest of any person in par ticular, it is not necessary that notice should be given of the time or place at which it is meant to be executed. Not withstanding a finding by the jury that the proposed market will not be injurious, any party who conceives that his interests are affected by the grant when made, whether he appeared upon the inquiry under the writ Ad quod damn= or not, may traverse the finding, or sue out a writ of Scire facias, which. after reciting the alleged injury, calls upon the grantee, in the name of the crown, to show cause why the grant should not be cancelled.
:If a new market be set up without any grant from the crown, the party is liable to be called upon by the crown by the writ of Quo warranto, to show by what warrant he exercises such a franchise [LinKary] ; and he is also liable to an action on the case for damages, at the suit of any person to whose market, or to whose property, the market so set up ' by the defendant is a nuisance. A new market is presumed to be injurious to ano ther held within the distance of twenty miles, even though it be on a different day ; but this presumption may be re butted.
Formerly markets were held chiefly on Sundays and holidays, for the conveni ence of dealers and customers, who were brought together for the purpose of hear ing divine service. But in 1285, by 13 Edward I. c. 5, fairs and markets were forbidden to be held in churchyards ; and in 1448, by 27 Henry VI. c. 5, all show ing of goods and merchandise, except necessary victuals, in fairs and markets, was to cease on the great festivals of the church, and on all Sundays except the four Sundays in harvest. The holding of fairs and markets for any purpose on any Sunday was prohibited in 1677, by 29 Charles II. c. 7.
The grantee of a market has a court of record called a court of pie-powder (pieds pouldreux, ' dusty feet'), for the prompt decision of matters arising in the market. Such a court being considered necessary for the expedition of justice and for the support of the market, the power for holding it is incident to a grant of a mar ket, even though the royal letters patent by which the grant is made be entirely silent on the subject.
Sales in markets may be of goods actually brought within the precincts of the market, or of goods not so brought. Goods not within the precincts of the market are sold sometimes by sample, sometimes without sample. Where goods are usually brought into the market for sale, it is incumbent on the lord of the market to take care that every thing be sold by correct and legal weights and measures.