TERM. The law Terms are those portions of the year during which the courts of common law sit for the despatch of business. They are four in number, and are called Hilary Term, Easter Term, Trinity Term, and Michaelmas Term: they take their names from those festivals of the Church which immediately pre oede the commencement of each. Va rious acts of parliament have been passed relative to the regulation of the Terms. The statute which now determines them .is the 11 Geo. IV. & 1 Win. IV. c. 70, amended by 1 Wm. IV. c. 3, which en acts that Hilary Term shall begin on the I I th and end on the 31st of January ; Easter begin on the 15th of April and end on the 8th of May ; Trinity begin on the 22nd of May and end on the 12th of June ; Michaelmas begin on the 2nd and end on the 25th of November. Monday is in all cases substituted for Sunday when the first day of Term falls on Sunday. During Term four judges sit in each court, and are occupied in deciding pure matters of law only, without the interven tion of a jury. The fifth judge in each court sometimes sits alone to determine matters of smaller importance or to try causes at Nisi Prins. By the sta tute 1 & 2 Vict. c. 32, the courts of common law are empowered, upon giv ing notice, to hold sittings out of Term for the purpose of disposing of the business then pending and undecided be fore them. These sittings are conducted in the same manner as those during the Term, except that no new business is introduced. The period during which
they have the power to do this is re stricted to "such times as are now by law appointed for holding sittings at Nisi Prins in London and Westminster." These times are appointed by 1 Wm. IV. c 70, s. 7, and consist of " not more than twenty-four days, exclusive of Sundays, after any Hilary, Trinity, and Michael mas Term, not more than six days, ex clusive of Sundays, after any Easter Term, to be reckoned consecutively after such Terms." The judges are also em powered by the same section to appoint such day or days as they shall think fit for any trial at bar (that is, a trial before four judges of the court), and the time so appointed, if in vacation, is for the pur poses of the trial to be deemed a part of the preceding Term.
There is also a provision which enables the judges, with the consent of the par ties, to appoint any time not within the twenty-four days for the trial of any cause at Nisi Prius. The sittings during these twenty-four and six days are called the sittings after Term, and are held for the trials of causes at Nisi Prius for London and Westminster, which places do not form part of any of the circuits. Sittings at Nisi Prins are also held for the same purpose before single judges during Term time, but no special jury cases are taken within the Term. (Spel man, Of the Terms; 3 Blackstone's Com., 275.)