Assessment, in ordinary parlance, implies fixing the amount of an unliquidated sum as damages, which may be clone by a jury, referee, or judge.
The word "assess" has a technical and also a popular usage as applied to taxes; "assessed taxes" being burdens charged upon persons in respect of houses inhabited by them, in respect of the use of male servants, dogs, carriages, and armorial bearings.
Rates in respect of land and houses are calculated on value, and the value is arrived at by "assessment;" this principle of taxation is as old at least as the reign of Elizabeth, when a parochial assessment was made, a man being rateable for all which he occupied in the particular parish. The provisions now applicable to the assessment of the poor rate are those of 6 and 7 Wm. IV. ch. 96 (an Act for the regulation of parochial assessment), under which the assessed rate must be made on an estimate of the rent at which the property might reasonably be expected to let from year to year, after deducting insurances, repairs, and other necessary outgoings. By subsequent statutes (25 and 26, and 27 and 28 Victoria) the mode of assessment has been somewhat remodelled. The rating authority is now the County Council having jurisdiction in the district. (See Stephens' Commentaries, 11th edition, vol. 3, chap, ii., p. 72, and the Act for the Regulation of the Parochial Assessments (6 and 7 Wm. IV., c. 96), and the Amendment Acts of 1862 and 1864.)