Case types

Court of Common Pleas: the National Archives, Cp40 1399-1500. Originally published by Centre for Metropolitan History, London, 2010.

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Case type definitions

Case type Definition
Abduction Cases involving the abduction of men, women, apprentices, servants etc.
Arbitration Cases concerning or involving decisions made at arbitration.
Assault Cases involving physical assault or personal injury, either on the plaintiff themselves or on servants or others for which the plaintiff seeks compensation.
Bond Cases directly involving the payment or non-payment of a bond (not used for detinue cases involving the detention of bonds).
Breach of Statute Cases involving the breach of one or more statutes.
Contract (not service/employment, or marriage) Contract other than those involving service or employment, or marriage.
Contract (service/apprenticeship) Contract involving service or apprenticeship agreement.
Debt Debt case of unspecified nature or not matching other pre-defined case types.
Detention of goods Cases involving the detention of goods / chattels, including documents.
Dower Cases involving dower rights to real estate or chattels.
Embracery Illegal influence over juries, or corruption by jurors, contrary to various statutes.
Housebreaking Cases involving the breaking of an individual's house or close.
Imprisonment Cases involving the unlawful imprisonment of one or more parties or other individuals.
Loan Debts involving loans, generally of money.
Maintenance Maintaining the suit of a third party, as per the statute OR Maintaining a false suit (malicious) on one's own behalf.
Marriage contract Cases involving, or related to, marriage contracts.
Negligence Failure of individual (official, tradesman, etc) to carry out duties, through negligence or corruption.
Real action / rents / damage to real estate Cases involving the seisin of property, or the renting / leasing / holding of properties for a set period.
Reckoning of Account Cases involving the reckoning of an account, either debts outstanding or the failure to render such an account.
Safe keeping Cases involving property (real estate / chattels / documents) put into safe keeping, generally with a third party.
Sale of goods Cases directly or indirectly involving the sale of goods.
Surety of peace Cases involving bonds / oaths / agreements giving surety for good behavior.
Taking of goods Cases involving the unauthorized taking of chattels.
Trespass (Chattels) Deprivation of an individual from their property, by destruction, damage, etc. (e.g. unauthorised killing of livestock), but not theft.
Usurpation / abuse of rights Cases involving the abuse of rights of appointment / taxation / lordship by one or more individuals.