William III, 1696-7
An Act for the better preventing frivolous and vexatious Suits [Chapter XI. Rot. Parl. 8c9 Gul.III.p.2.nu.5.]

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History of Parliament Trust

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John Raithby (editor)

Year published

1820

Pages

201-203

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'William III, 1696-7: An Act for the better preventing frivolous and vexatious Suits [Chapter XI. Rot. Parl. 8c9 Gul.III.p.2.nu.5.]', Statutes of the Realm: volume 7: 1695-1701 (1820), pp. 201-203. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=46859 Date accessed: 25 October 2014.


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Where several Persons Defendants to Actions herein mentioned, and One or more acquitted, they are to have Costs as if all acquitted, except Judge certify.

For Relief of His Majesties good Subjects against causelesse and unjust Suits and for the better enabling them to recover their just Rights Be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Co[m]mons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That from and after the Five and twentieth Day of March which shall be in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety and seven where several Persons shall be made Defendants to any Action or Plaint of Trespasse Assault false Imprisonment or Ejectione firme and any one or more of them shall be upon the Tryal thereof acquitted by Verdict every Person or Persons so acquitted shall have and recover his Costs of Suit in like manner as if a Verdict had been given against the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs and acquitted all the Defendants unlesse the Judge before whom such Cause shall be tryed shall im[m]ediately after the Tryal thereof in open Court certifie upon the Record under his Hand that there was a reasonable Cause for the making such Person or Persons a Defendant or Defits to such Action or Plaint.

II.

Defendant, on Judgment given for him, &c. to recover Costs.

And forasmuch as for want of a sufficient Provision by Law for the Payment of Costs of Suit diverse evil disposed Persons are incouraged to bring frivolous and vexatious Actions and others to neglect the due payment of their Debts Be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That if att any time from and after the said Five and twentieth Day of March any Person or Persons shall commence or prosecute in any Court of Record any Action Plaint or Suit wherein upon any Demurrer either by Plaintiffe or Defendant Demandant or Tennant Judgment shall be given by the Court against such Plaintiffe or Demandant or if att any time after Judgement given for the Defendant in any such Action Plaint or Suit the Plaintiff or Demandant shall sue any Writt or Writts of Error to annul the said Judgment and the said Judgment shall be afterwards affirmed to be good or the said Writt of Error shall be discontinued or the Plaintiffe shall be nonsuit therein the Defendant or Tenant in every such Action Plaint Suit or Writt of Error shall have Judgment to recover his Costs against every such Plaintiff or Plaintiffs Demandant or Demandants and have Execution for the same by Capias ad satisfaciendum Fieri facias or Elegit.

III. Plaintiff obtaining Judgment in an Action of Waste, &c. to recover Costs.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That from and after the said Five and twentieth Day of March in all Actions of Waste and Actions of Debt upon the Statute for not setting forth of Tythes wherein the single Value, or Damage found by the Jury shall not exceed the Su[m]m of Twenty Nobles and in all Suits upon any Writt or Writts of Scire facias and Suits upon Prohibitions the Plaintiffe obtaining Judgment or any Award of Execution after Plea pleaded or Demurrer joyned therein shall likewise recover his Costs of Suit and if the Plaintiffe shall become Nonsuit or suffer a Discontinuance or a Verdict shall passe against him the Defendant shall recover his Costs and have Execution for the same in like manner as aforesaid.

IV. If Defendant be found guilty in Action of Trespass, Plaintiff to have Costs, &c. on Judge's Certificate.

And for the preventing of wilfull and malicious Trespasses be it further enacted That in all Actions of Trespasse to be co[m]menced or prosecuted from and after the said Five and twentieth Day of March One thousand six hundred ninety and seven in any of His Majesties Courts of Record att Westminster wherein att the Tryal of the Cause it shall appeare and be certified by the Judge under his Hand upon the Back of the Record that the Trespasse upon which any Defendant shall be found guilty was wilfull and malicious the Plaintiffe shall recover not onely his Damages but his full Costs of Suit Any former Law to the contrary notwithstanding.

V. Proviso for Law as to Executors' Costs.

Provided always That nothing herein contained shall be construed to alter the Laws in being as to Executors or Administrators in such Cases where they are not att present liable to the payment of Costs of Suit.

VI. In what Case, Plaintiff or Defendant dying before final Judgment obtained, Action not to abate.

Plaintiff, &c. may have a Scire facias against Defendant; On Execution and Return of Writ of Enquiry, final Judgment given.

And be it further enacted That in all Actions to be commenced in any Court of Record from and after the said Five and twentieth Day of March One thousand six hundred ninety and seven if any Plaintiffe happen to die after an Interlocutory Judgement and before a final Judgement obtained therein the said Action shall not abate by reason thereof if such Action might be originally prosecuted or maintained by the Executors or Administrators of such Plaintiffe and if the Defendant die after such Interlocutory Judgement and before final Judgement [therein obtained (fn. 1) ] the said Action shall not abate if such Action might be originally prosecuted or maintained against the Executors or Administrators of such Defendant and the Plaintiff or if he be dead after such Interlocutory Judgement his Executors or Administrators shall and may have a Scire facias against the Defendant if living after such Interlocutory Judgement or if hee died after then against his Executors or Administrators to shew Cause why Damages in such Action should not be assessed & recovered by him or them and if such Defendant his Executors or Administrators shall appeare att the Returne of such Writt and not shew or alledge any matter sufficient to arrest the final Judgement or being returned warned or upon two Writts of Scire facias it be returned that the Defendant his Executors or Administrators had nothing whereby to be su[m]moned or could not be found in the County shall make default that thereupon a Writt of Enquiry of Damages shall be awarded which being executed and returned Judgement final shall be given for the said Plaintiffe his Executors or Administrators prosecuting such Writt or Writts of Scire facias against such Defendant his Executors or Administrators respectively.

VII. In what Case, where Two or more Plaintiffs or Defendants, Actions may proceed notwithstanding Death of one.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That if there be Two or more Plaintiffs or Defendants and One or more of them should die if the cause of such Action shall survive to the surviving Plaintiff or Plaintiffs or against the surviving Defendant or Defendants the Writt or Action shall not be thereby abated but such Death being suggested upon the Record the Action shall proceed att the Suit of the surviving Plaintiff or Plaintiffs against the surviving Defendant or Defendants.

VIII. In Actions on Bonds, &c. Plaintiff may assign as many Breaches as he pleases.

Jury may assess Damages; In what Case of Judgment for Plaintiff, he may suggest as many Breaches as he pleases.

Defendant paying Damages and Costs, Execution may be stayed; but Judgment to remain to answer any further Breach; and Plaintiff may have a Scire facias against Defendant; and so toties quoties.

And be it further enacted That in all Actions which from and after the said Five and twentieth Day of March One thousand six hundred ninety and seven shall be co[m]menced or prosecuted in any of His Majesties Courts of Record upon any Bond or Bonds or on any Penal Su[m]m for Non performance of any Covenants or Agreements in any Indenture Deed or Writing contained the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs may assign as many Breaches as hee or they shall think fitt and the Jury upon Tryal of such Action or Actions shall and may assesse not onely such Damages and Costs of Suit as have heretofore been usually done in such Cases but also Damages for such of the said Breaches so [to be (fn. 1) ] assigned as the Plaintiff upon the Tryal of the Issues shall prove to have been broken and that the like Judgment shall be entred on such Verdict as heretofore hath been usually done in such like Actions and if Judgement shall be given for the Plaintiffe on a Demurrer or by Confession or Nihil dicit the Plaintiffe upon the Roll may suggest as many Breaches of the Covenants and Agreements as hee shall think fitt upon which shall issue a Writt to the Sheriff of that County where the Action shall be brought to summon a Jury to appeare before the Justices or Justice of Assize or Nisi prius of that County to enquire of the Truth of every one of those Breaches and to assesse the Damages that the Plaintiffe shall have sustained thereby in which Writt it shall be co[m]manded to the said Justices or Justice of Assize or Nisi prius that hee or they shall make a Returne thereof to the Court from whence the same shall issue att the Time in such Writ mentioned and in case the Defendant or Defendants after such Judgem[en]t entred and before any Execution executed shall pay unto the Court where the Action shall be brought to the Use of the Plaintiffe or Plaintiffs or his or their Executors or Administrators such Damages so to be assessed by reason of all or any of the Breaches of such Convenants together with the Costs of Suit a stay of Execution on the said Judgement shall be entred upon Record or if by reason of any Execution executed the Plaintiffe or Plaintiffs or his or their Executors or Administrators shall be fully paid or satisfied all such Damages so to be assessed together with his or their Costs of Suit and all reasonable Charges and Expences for executing the said Execution the Body Lands or Goods of the Defendant shall be thereupon forthwith discharged from the said Execution which shall likewise be entred upon Record but notwithstanding in each Case such Judgement shall remaine continue and be as a further Security to answer to the Plaintiffe or Plaintiffs and his or their Executors or Administrators such Damages as shall or may be sustained for further Breach of any Covenant or Covenants in the same Indenture Deed or Writing contained upon which the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs may have a Scire facias upon the said Judgement against the Defendant or against his Heire Terre-Tenants or his Executors or Administrators suggesting other Breaches of the said Covenants or Agreements and to su[m]mon him or them respectively to shew cause why Execution shall not be had or awarded upon the said Judgement upon which there shall be the like proceeding as was in the Action of Debt upon the said Bond or Obligac[i]on for assessing of Damages upon Tryal of Issues joyned upon such Breaches or Enquiry thereof upon a Writt to be awarded in manner as aforesaid and that upon Payment or Satisfaction in manner as aforesaid of such future Damages Costs and Charges as aforesaid all further proceedings on the said Judgement are again to be stayed and so toties quoties and the Defendant his Body Lands or Goods shall be discharged out of Execution as aforesaid.

Footnotes

1 interlined on the Roll.