Inns of Court. Chancery. 122

Inns of Court. Chancery.

The Manner of Mooting in the INNS of COURT.


In these Vacations, after Supper in the Hall, the Reader (with one or two of the Benchers) comes in; to whom one of the Utter-Barristers propounds some doubtful Case; which being argued by the Benchers, and lastly by him that moved the Case; the Benchers sit down on the Bench at the upper End of the Hall: And upon a Form in the Middle of the Hall sit two Utter-Barristers; and on both sides of them, on the same Form, sits one Inner-Barrister, who in Law French doth declare to the Benchers some kind of Action; the one being (as it were) retained for the Plaintiff, and the other for the Defendant. Which ended, the two Utter-Barristers argue such Questions as are disputable within the Case. After which, the Benchers do likewise declare their Opinions, as how they take the Law to be in these Questions.

Mootings in the Inns of Court.

The Manner of Mooting in the INNS of CHANCERY.


In the Learning Vacations, each Utter-Barrister that is a Reader in the Inns of Chancery, goes with two Students of the same Inn of Court to the Inn of Chancery, where he is appointed to read: And there meet him commonly Two of each of the Inns of Court; who sitting as the Benchers do in the Inns of Court at their Moots, they hear and argue the Case.

Mooting in the Inns of Chancery.

In the Term Time, the only Exercises of Learning, is Arguing and Debating Cases after Dinner, and Mooting after Supper, in the same manner as in the Vacations.

Exercises in Term Time.

The Time between the Learning Vacations and Terms, is called the Mean Vacation; during which Time, every Day after Dinner, Cases are argued as at other Times: And after Supper, Moots are brought in, and pleaded by the Inner-Barristers, in the Presence of the Utter-Barristers, which sit there in the room of the Benchers, and argued by them, as the Benchers do in Term Time, and Learning Vacations.

Mean Vacation.

Note, That in the Four Inns of Court before mentioned, there are reckoned to be about 300 Students, besides the Utter-Barristers and Inner-Barristers.

During the Time of Reading, which heretofore continued three Weeks and three Days, the Reader keeps a constant and a splendid Table; feasting the Nobility, Judges, Bishops, principal Officers of State, the chief Gentry, and sometimes the King himself: Insomuch that it hath cost a Reader above 1000l.

The Reader keeps a constant Table.

Afterwards he that hath been Reader wears a long Robe, differing from other Barristers; and is then in a Capacity to be made a Serjeant at Law.

How SERJEANTS at LAW are called thereunto, and elected.


When the Number of Serjeants is small, the Lord Chief-Justice of the Common-Pleas, by the Advice and Consent of the other Judges, makes choice of Six or Eight of the most Grave and Learned of the Inns of Court, and presents their Names to the Lord Chancellor, or Lord Keeper; who, by the King's Writ, sends to each of them to appear on such a Day before the King, to receive the State and Degree of a Serjeant at Law.

Elections of Serjeants.

At the appointed Time, (being habited in Robes of two Colours; viz. Brown, and Violet Colour) they come; being accompanied with the Students of the Inns of Court, and attended by a Train of Servants and Retainers, in certain peculiar Cloth Liveries, into Westminster-Hall; and there, in publick, take a solemn Oath, and are clothed with certain Robes and Coifs: Which Robes they appear in publick with.

After this, they feast the Great Persons with a Magnificent Dinner; and give Gold Rings to several of the Nobility, to some of 40s. Value, to others 20s. besides a great many more to their Friends.

Of Election of JUDGES.


Out of these Serjeants, Judges are chosen; and therefore it is that they wear always the white Linnen Coif, which is the principal Badge of a Serjeant, and which he wears even in the Presence of the King.

Electing of Judges.

When any of the Judges are wanting, by Death, or otherwise; the King, by the Advice of his Council, makes choice of one of the Serjeants to supply his Place; and by Letters Patents sealed by the Chancellor; who sitting in the Midst of the rest of the Judges in open Court, declares to the Serjeant the King's Pleasure, and to the People the King's Goodness, in providing or supplying the Bench with such able and honest Men, as that Justice may be done impartially and expeditely to all his Subjects: And then causes the said Letters Patents to be read. And being departed, the Chief Justice places the said Serjeant on the Bench, Junior of all the rest: And having taken the Oath, "Well and Truly to serve the King, and his People, in the Office of Justice; to take no Reward; to do equal and speedy Justice to all, &c." he sets himself to the Exectuion of his Charge.

The Judge's Oath.

The Serjeant being thus advanced to a Judge, hath great Honour, and a very considerable Salary of 1500l. per Annum, besides great Perquisites.

His Salary.

And now, in some Things, his former Habit of a Serjeant is altered. His long Robe and Cap, his Hood and Coif are the same: But there is besides a Cloak put over him, which is closed on his right Shoulder; and his Caputium is lined with Minever, that is, divers small Pieces of white rich Furr. But the Two Lord Chief-Justices, and the Lord Chief Baron, have their Hoods, Sleeves and Collars, turned up with Ermine.

Judges how habited.

Now all these Inns of Court and Chancery are not far distant from one another, and do make the most famous Profession of the Law that is in the World: There being so many Eminent Persons, of such found Judgment in the Knowledge of the Law; and a considerable Number of them the Sons of Gentlemen, and Persons of Quality.

The Honour redounding to the Nation from this Profession.

Of the Manner of Keeping Christmas in the INNS of COURT.


If the House (a little before Christmas) is furnished with such a Number of Students, and of such Quality, as are fit to keep a Solemn Christmas; then they meet together, and hold a Parliament, as they call it; and there chuse and appoint certain Officers of their own Students, in Imitation of the King's Court; viz. a Comptroller, and a Treasurer, with other great Officers. And these bear Rule in the House during the whole Time of Christmas; and are to behave themselves in that Port, Gravity and Authority, as if they were so in the King's House.

Keeping Christmas.