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Comparative LawHistory the medieval english coroner system - Essay Example

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Comparative LawHistory the medieval english coroner system

The other purpose this move served was that it worked as a solution to the problem of the Sheriffs' control on the peasants, and this made it look like a reform-oriented action. The sheriff was the officer designated by the King to oversee law and order in every county. In his being the legal authority of a county, the office of the sheriff allowed him all the scope to manipulate law for his own benefit. The notoriety of the sheriffs for extortion and misappropriation of funds at the King's expense, as well as the scope of the abuse of power which their office permitted, is what Hubert was aware of, and that is what prompted him to set up a network of law officers that were under the supervision of neither the sheriff, nor the Justices of the Peace. Thus came to being the office of the coroner. The Article 20 of the "Articles of Eyre", from the Eyre of September held in the County of Kent in 1194, is the decree that formally established the Coroners. The article stated that: "In every county of the King's realm shall be elected three knights and one clerk, to keep the pleas of the Crown"
To each county, thus, were assigned three coroners and a clerk who carried the "Coroner's Rolls", although the clerk's office too was later to be replaced by another, a fourth coroner. The coroner's duties were not with a reward in terms of money: they were never paid for their services to the crown, and it was an offence for them to receive any rewards by virtue of their office. To keep them from indulging in embezzlement, to prevent which was why their office came to being, Walter decree that their appointment was dependent on a certain property level, and a least of an income twenty pounds a year.
The Medieval Coroner: Duties
The coroner's main duties were twin-pronged; he was the tax-collector as well as the person who would keep a criminal record of territories that came under the jurisdiction of the Royal Courts of Law. The general Eyre was the body that would go around the kingdom, primarily taking stock of the misbehaviours of the subjects. The subjects were required to keep a track of all the incidents that have occurred in this account and relate them with complete honesty to the coroner. The coroner would note these down, and hand them over to the General Eyre; the Justices in the Eyre would hand out fines and punishments. The coroner takes on the role of a tax-collector because the large fines, the amercements, were viewed more as a kind of tax than as a way of punishment by the people. As has previously been mentioned, this was also the primary manner in which large revenues were being collected for the Royal Treasury. The ability to extract these sums was largely dependent on the details provided by the coroner. This ensured his presence in all kinds of events where fines, sureties and taxes could be levied, and property and goods be forfeited. This role of the coroner has taken a backseat and his second main duty that of investigating unnatural and suspicious deaths makes the coroner's identity today; sudden deaths, accidental deaths, natural deaths, suicides, murder and manslaughter, all these came under the coroner's duties. Medieval England also saw the coroner in charge of associated crimes ...Show more


The concept of the Coroner system is strictly a British tradition dating back as far as the 9th century. Not much is known about the function or duties of the corner during that era. It was not until the 12th century that the role of coroner was formalized in law during the reign of King Richard I…
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Comparative LawHistory the medieval english coroner system essay example
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