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Pleading in English Act 1362


Pleading in English Act 1362

Pleading in English Act 1362
Chapter 36 Edw. III c. 15
Other legislation
Repealing legislation
  • Statute Law Revision Act 1863
  • Statute Law (Ireland) Revision Act 1872
Status: Repealed

The Pleading in English Act 1362 (36 Edw. III c. 15),[1] often rendered Statute of Pleading, was an Act of the Parliament of England. The Act complained that because the French language was much unknown in England, the people therefore had no knowledge of what is being said for them or against them in the courts, which used Law French. The Act therefore stipulated that "all Pleas which shall be pleaded in [any] Courts whatsoever, before any of his Justices whatsoever, or in his other Places, or before any of His other Ministers whatsoever, or in the Courts and Places of any other Lords whatsoever within the Realm, shall be pleaded, shewed, defended, answered, debated, and judged in the English Tongue, and that they be entered and inrolled in Latin".[2]

Historical context

Prior to the Norman conquest of England in 1066, traditional common law in England tradition had been discussed in the vernacular since time immemorial (see Celtic law), and written in the Germanic vernacular (Old English) since circa 600 (following the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain), beginning with the law code of Æthelberht of Kent; see Anglo-Saxon law. Following the Norman conquest, the language of the latest conquerors was used – Anglo-Norman (which developed into Law French) was used for pleadings, and Latin was used in writing. The fourteenth century saw a decline in Law French, hence the Pleading in English Act, which marks the beginning of modern Legal English. The statute was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863 and the Statute Law (Ireland) Revision Act 1872.

Somewhat later – about 50 years, in fact – English became standard for official government purposes in the form of Chancery Standard, during the reign of King Henry V (1413 to 1422).

Notes and references

See also

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