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Recorder

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RECORDER (Recordator), a judge, described by Cowel as " he whom the mayor or other magistrate of any city or town corporate having jurisdiction, or a court of record, within their precincts by the king's grant, doth associate unto him for his better direction in matters of jus tice and proceedings according to law." The Norman term, recoz deur, appears to have originally been applied to every person who was present at a judicial pro ceeding, and to whose remembrance or record of what had taken place the law gave credit in respect of his personal or official weight and dignity. Of this we perceive a trace in the ordinary writ of Aceedas ad Curiam, by which the sheriff is commanded to to some inferior court (which, not being the king's court, is not a court of record), taking with him four knights, and there to record the plaint, which is in that court ; the re membrance of the four knightly recor deurs of what they saw existing in the inferior court, in obedience to the king's writ, being treated as equivalent to their actual presence at the proceeding to be recorded. So if the proceedings are in the sheriff's court, he is ordered by the writ of Recordari facias loquelam to cause the plaint to be recorded by four knights. And by a record of the eighth year of King John, we find that a judg ment of battle in the court of the Arch bishop of Canterbury being vouched in the king's courts, four knights were sent to inspect the proceedings, who returned " gaud recordati aunt." (Placitorum Ab breviatio, 54.) The practice of certifying and recording the customs of London by the mouth of the recorder, which is ante cedent to the charters granting or recog nising the practice, appears to be refer rible to the same source. Where criminal or civil jurisdiction was exercised by citizens or burgesses, it would add to the importance of the court if its proceedings took place in the presence of an officer to whose record the superior courts would give credit, either in respect of his per sonal rank, as a peer or knight, or on account of his connection with those courts, as a serjeant or barrister-at-law.

Since 1835 the duties of recorders in cities and boroughs enumerated in the schedules of the Municipal Corporations Act (5 & 6 Wm. IV. c. 70) have been

regulated by the provisions of that and of subsequent statutes.

The jurisdiction of the recorder in places of minor importance than those mentioned in the schedules, is taken away. These Acts do not affect the city of London.

The recorder of London is a judge who has criminal and civil jurisdiction. He is also the adviser and the advocate of the corporation. In respect of the duties performed by the recorder in the assem blies of the corporation, in the courts of mayor and aldermen, of common council, and of common ball, his office may be said to be ministerial. He is by charter a justice of the peace within the city of London, and a justice of over and terminer, and a justice of the peace, in the borough of Southwark.

The business of the mayor's court, in which the recorder ordinarily presides alone, comprehends a court of equity. In the mayor's court the recorder tries eivil causes, both according to the ordi nary course of common law and the pe culiar customs of the city. The amount for which such actions may be brought is unlimited. Causes depending in the superior courts at Westminster for sums under 20/., writs of trial are occa sionally ordered to be executed by a judge of a court of record in London under statute 3 & 4 Wm. IV. c. 42, s.17. Such trials sometimes take place before the recorder, and sometimes before the judges of the sheriffs' court.

All the duties of a justice of the peace, including those of chairman, devolve upon the recorder at the quarter and other sessions held at Guildhall for the city of London. At the eight sessions which are held in the year at Justice-hall in the Old Bailey for the metropolitan district, the recorder acts as one of the judges under her majesty's commission of over and terminer, and general gaol de livery. At the conclusion of each session he prepares a report of every felon capi tally convicted within the metropolitan district, for the information and conside ration of the queen in council, and he issues his warrant for the reprieve or the execution of the criminals whose cases have been reported.

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