Case types


Centre for Metropolitan History



Jonathan Mackman and Matthew Stevens

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'Case types', Court of common pleas: The National Archives, CP40: 1399-1500 (2010). URL: Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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Case type definitions

Case typeDefinition
AbductionCases involving the abduction of men, women, apprentices, servants etc.
ArbitrationCases concerning or involving decisions made at arbitration.
AssaultCases involving physical assault or personal injury, either on the plaintiff themselves or on servants or others for which the plaintiff seeks compensation.
BondCases directly involving the payment or non-payment of a bond (not used for detinue cases involving the detention of bonds).
Breach of StatuteCases 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.
DebtDebt case of unspecified nature or not matching other pre-defined case types.
Detention of goodsCases involving the detention of goods / chattels, including documents.
DowerCases involving dower rights to real estate or chattels.
EmbraceryIllegal influence over juries, or corruption by jurors, contrary to various statutes.
HousebreakingCases involving the breaking of an individual's house or close.
ImprisonmentCases involving the unlawful imprisonment of one or more parties or other individuals.
LoanDebts involving loans, generally of money.
MaintenanceMaintaining the suit of a third party, as per the statute OR Maintaining a false suit (malicious) on one's own behalf.
Marriage contractCases involving, or related to, marriage contracts.
NegligenceFailure of individual (official, tradesman, etc) to carry out duties, through negligence or corruption.
Real action / rents / damage to real estateCases involving the seisin of property, or the renting / leasing / holding of properties for a set period.
Reckoning of AccountCases involving the reckoning of an account, either debts outstanding or the failure to render such an account.
Safe keepingCases involving property (real estate / chattels / documents) put into safe keeping, generally with a third party.
Sale of goodsCases directly or indirectly involving the sale of goods.
Surety of peaceCases involving bonds / oaths / agreements giving surety for good behavior.
Taking of goodsCases 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 rightsCases involving the abuse of rights of appointment / taxation / lordship by one or more individuals.