Keeping Up Appearances

The Development of Adjudicatory Jurisdiction in the English Courts

Andrew Dickinson, St Catherine's College

I.            Introduction - the "common law" rules of jurisdiction and the "principles" of presence and submission.

II.            The concept of adjudicatory jurisdiction in the conflict of laws

III.            Development of the Adjudicatory Jurisdiction of Courts in England

(a)  Appearance as a basis of adjudicatory jurisdiction in the courts of common law and equity

Williams v Lord Bagot (1825) 3 B.&C. 772, 787 (Bayley J.), 787-787 (Holroyd J.): (“In personal actions, it must appear that the person of the defendant has been brought into court.”

Picquet v Swan (1828) 5 Mason 35, 44; 19 F.Cas. 609, 612-613 (Story J., Circuit Court, Massachusetts). “The principles of the common law (which are never to be lost sight of in the construction of our own statutes) proceed yet farther. In general, it may be said, that they authorize no judgment against a party, until after his appearance in court. He may be taken on a capias and brought into court, or distrained by attachment and other process against his property to compel his appearance; and for non-appearance be outlawed. But still, even though a subject, and within the kingdom, the judgment against him can take place only after such appearance. So anxious was the common law to guard the rights of private persons from judgments obtained without notice, and regular personal appearance in court.”

(b) Developments on the common law side before the Judicature Acts

(c)  Developments in equity before the Judicature Acts

(d)  The Judicature Acts and Rules of the Supreme Court

IV.            Conclusions and next steps

a.       Re-defining the “common law” rules of jurisdiction.

b.      A new approach to “common law” jurisdiction post-Brexit?

c.       The link to foreign judgments, and the way forward.



[Lunch provided. RSVP if you would like to place an order to ensure a lunch place.]