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A History of the County Court, 1846–1971


Part of Cambridge Studies in English Legal History

  • Date Published: January 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521184090

£ 35.99

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About the Authors
  • This 1999 book was the first full-length account of the county court, which in contemporary English life has become the main forum for most civil disputes. It began as the 'poor man's court', largely concerned with the pursuit of working-class debtors; but, as this book shows, it has expanded far beyond its origins as an agency `for the more easy recovery of small debts' and now includes in its jurisdiction a diverse range of matters, including housing, accidents and consumer goods. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the author traces the history of the county court from its creation in 1846 through to the reconstruction of the court system in 1971. He describes its organisation and officers, from judges to bailiffs, and discusses the roles of judges, practising lawyers and lay persons. The text is an intriguing engagement with themes including access to justice.

    • Was the first full length history of the County Courts in England and Wales
    • Combines extensive use of contemporary publications with unpublished Government records
    • Of interest to nineteenth- and twentieth-century social historians
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Patrick Polden is strong on numerous points of detail. Nothing escapes his attention … his analysis is full of variety and colour. It is an important book on a central topic. It is also formidably strong in its use of the sort of primary sources which are often ignored by writers on the English and Welsh legal system.' Legal Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521184090
    • length: 426 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The making of the county courts: the deficiencies of the courts, the origins of the new county courts
    2. An age of expansion, 1847–70: the new courts and the new judges
    3. An age of frustration: the turning point
    4. War to war
    5. County courts in austerity and affluence: patching up the courts
    6. Organisation and finance: central control and organisation
    7. The law of the county courts: statutes, orders and rules
    8. Judges: numbers and distribution
    9. Registrars: numbers and distribution, appointment
    10. Staff and buildings

  • Author

    Patrick Polden, Brunel University

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