- skip - Brewer’s

Nisi Prius


A Nisi Case, a cause to be tried in the assize courts. Sittings at Nisi Prius, sessions of Nisi Prius Courts, which never try criminal cases. Trial at Nisi, a trial before judges of assize. An action at one time could be tried only in the court where it was brought, but Magna Charta provided that certain cases, instead of being tried at Westminster in the superior courts, should be tried in their proper counties before judges of assize. The words “Nisi Prius” are two words on which the following clause attached to the writs entirely hinges:—“We command you to come before our justices at Westminster on the morrow of All Soulsʹ, NISI PRIUS justiciarii domini regis ad assisas capiendas venerint—i.e. unless previously the justices of our lord the king come to hold their assizes at (the court of your own assize town).”

previous entry · index · next entry


Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

previous entry · index · next entry

Ninon de lEnclos
Nip (A)
Nip in the Bud
Nip-cheese or Nip-farthing
Nipperkin (A)
Nishapoor and Tous
Nisi Prius
Nitouche (St.)
Nix (mas.), Nixie (fem.)
No Man is a Hero to his own Valet
No More Poles
No-Popery Riots