Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Assize, a jury summoned for the purpose of trying a cause, or rather a Court of Jurisdiction which summons a jury by a Commission of Assize to take the assizes. Hence the judicial assemblies held by the Queen's commission in every county as well to deliver the gaols as to take indictments and to try causes at Nisi Prius, are commonly termed the Assizes. There are two commissions: (1) General, which is issued twice a year to the judges of the High Court of Justice, two judges being usually assigned to every circuit. The judges have four several commissions: 1. Of oyer and terminer, directed to them and many other gentlemen of the county, by which they are empowered to try treasons, felonies, etc. This is the largest commission. 2. Of gaol delivery, directed to the judges and the clerk of assize associate, empowering them to try every prisoner in the gaol committed for any offence whatsoever so as to clear the prisons. 3. Of nisi prius, directed to the judges, the clerks of assize, and others, by which civil causes, in which issue has been joined in one of the Divisions of the High Court of Justice, are tried on circuit by a jury of twelve men of the county in which the venue is laid. 4. A commission of the peace, by which all justices are bound to be present at their county assizes, besides the sheriffs to give attendance to the judges or else suffer a fine. (b) The other division of commissions is specially granted to certain judges to try certain causes and crimes. (See Stephen's Commentaries.) The holding of winter and spring assizes is regulated by orders in council issued from time to time under the Winter Sessions Acts, 1876, and 1877, and the Spring Assizes Act, 1879.