Statutes of the Realm: Volume 5, 1628-80. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1819.
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Recital of 43 Eliz. c. 12. § 1
§2. §3. Recital that there cannot be a Court without Five Commissioners, and that no Proceedings can be without a Court. Recital of 43 Eliz. c. 12. § 4. whereby Delay arises; and that Commissioners have no Power to make Order against Ship or Goods. Lord Chancellor, &c. may, when requisite, issue out a Standing Commission. Commissioners' Power; may summon Parties and Witnesses; and punish such as refuse Obedience. Commissioners to take Oath before Lord Mayor of London.
WHEREAS by an Act of Parliament made in the Three and fortieth yeare of the Reigne of Queen Elizabeth of happy memory entituled An Act concerning matters of Assurances used amongst Merchants The Parliament then taking into Consideration by all good meanes to comfort and encourage the Merchants of this Kingdome thereby to advance and increase the Wealth of this Realme her Majesties Customes and the strength of Shipping and for preventing of diverse mischeifs in the said Act mentioned It was enact ed That it should and might be lawfull for the Lord Chancellor or Lord Keeper of the Great Seale of England for the time being to award forth under the Great Seale of England one generall or standing Commission to be renewed yearely at the least and otherwise so often as unto the Lord Chancellor or Lord Keeper should seem meet for the hearing and [determing (fn. 1) ] of Causes arising on Policies of Assurance such as then were or then after should be entred within the Office of Assurance of the City of London which Commissions should be [erect ed (fn. 2) ] to the Judge of the Admiralty for the time being the Recorder of London for the time being Two Doct ors of the Civil Law Two Common Lawyers and eight grave or discreet Merchants or any five of them which Commissioners or the greater part of them which should sit and meet should have full Power and Authority to heare examine order and decree all and every such Cause and Causes in a breife and su[m]mary course without formalities of pleadings or proceedings with power to warn parties to come before them and to examine upon Oath any Witnesses that should be produced and to commit to Prison any person that should wilfully disobey theire final Orders and Decrees And the Commission[er]s to sit once weekely upon the Execution of the said Commission with a liberty in the said Act for any person greived by any such Sentence or Decree to exhibite his Bill in Chancery for the reexamination of such Sentence or Decree As by the said Act relation being thereunto had more at large may appeare But forasmuch as by the said recited Act without five Co[m]missioners there cannot be a Court and without there be a Court they cannot proceed in the Execution of theire Commission so much as to summon Parties or Witnesses to appeare And in case of neglect or refusal of any Party or Witnesse to appeare they have no power to punish the delay or contempt with Costs or otherwise And it is provided by the said Act that not any Commissioner other then the Judge of the Admiralty or the Recorder of London shall proceed in the Execution of such Commission before hee hath taken his Oath before the Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen to proceed uprightly and indifferently betweene party and party which upon the renewing of the said Commissions often proves a great delay there being so many Commissioners to be sworn and the Court of Aldermen not sitting at some times in the yeare when the said Commissions have hapened to be renewed And although the said Commissioners upon theire final Sentence have power to commit to Prison any person that shall wilfully disobey theire said Sentences or Decrees yet they have no power to make any Order against the Ship or Goods which comonly are the things assured by which Omissions or want of Power given by the said Act the benefits intended by the said Act of Parliament are much retarded and the mischeifs by the Act endeavored to be prevented much increased For remedy whereof Be it enacted and ordained [& it is hereby enacted and ordained (fn. 3) ] by the Kings most Excellent Majesty and by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled That from and after the foure and twentieth day of June which shall be in the yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred sixty and two it shall and may be lawfull to and for the Lord Chancellor or Lord Keeper of the Great Seale of England for the time being to issue out yearely (or oftner if need require) one standing Commission under the Great Seale of England thereby impowering and authorizing the said Commissioners or any three of them (whereof a Doctor of the Civil Law or a Barrister at Law of Five yeares standing at the least to be alwaies one) to meet and sit and make a Court and proceed in all things in the Execution of the said Commission as before by the said Act any Five might have done And that the said Commissioners or any such three of them as aforesaid be and hereby are impowered to summon Parties and Witnesses to appeare and in Case of Contempt or wilfull delay in the Witnesses upon the first Summons and tender of reasonable Charges and in the Parties upon theire second Summons to punish the Offenders by Imprisonment or Costs for such time and in such manner as shall be reasonable and according to the nature and quality of theire Offences And that it shall and may be lawfull to and for every such Commissioner to proceed in the Execution of the said Commission having first taken an Oath before the Lord Maior of the City of London for the time being only to proceed uprightly and indifferently betweene party and party And the said Lord Maior is hereby authorized to give such Oath Any thing in the said Act to the contrary notwithstanding And that no person shall proceed in Execution of the said Commission before he be first sworne before the Lord Mayor of London for the time being to proceed uprightly and indifferently betweene party and party as formerly he should have been before the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen
II. Commissions may be issued out of Admiralty Court for Examination of Witnesses abroad.
Bee it alsoe enacted by the Authority aforesaid That in case the said Commissioners or any such three of them as aforesaid shall find cause to examine Witnesses beyond the Seas or any remote parts of his Majesties Dominions for the clearing [of (fn. 4) ] any doubt or matter before them depending that in such case by direction of the said Commissioners or any such three of them like Commissions or Processe shall issue out of the Court of Admiralty as have formerly been for the purposes aforesaid returnable before the said Commissioners And that the said Commissioners or any such three of them shall have alsoe power to give and passe theire final Sentence Decree and Executions as well against the body of the party evicted or his goods as alsoe against the Executors and Administrators of such party so evicted And to assesse Costs of Suit upon such person or persons as shall be condemned by the Decree of the said Court as to them shall seem just
III. Power to Commissioners to swear Witnesses going abroad.
And forasmuch as many Witnesses (as Seamen and others) come [and (fn. 4) ] speedily go again to Sea before a Court can be summoned by which meanes the assured and assurers are many times much damnified For the preventing of which mischeif Be it alsoe enacted by the Authority aforesaid that it shall and may be lawfull to and for any one of the said Commissioners to administer an Oath to any Witnesse legally summoned to give testimony (timely notice [being (fn. 4) ] thereof given to the adverse party and sett up in the Office before such examination) to the end such Witnesse or Witnesses may be crosse examined
IV. Proceedings not to be against Body and Goods for the same Debt.
Provided alwaies That the said Commissioners shall in no case proceed both against person and goods for one and the same debt And provided also that any thing in this Act contained shall not in any wise extend to prejudice the appeal to the High Court of Chancery given or allowed in the said former Act of Parliament.