Act concerning the judicial proceedings in the time of the late usurpers

Forasmuch since the year of God 1651 the late usurpers did take upon them to establish judicatories superior and inferior within this nation, as judges for administration of justice in place of the judicatory of the session formerly established by law, commissioners for the admiralty, sheriffs of shires, commissaries, justices of peace and other inferior courts, in which courts the people did, in name of the usurpers or under the notion of the keepers of liberties, prosecute and defend their many causes and interests these many years past; and his majesty, considering that the matters agitated, pursued and concluded were for the most part things of course belonging to the ordinary judicatories formerly established in this kingdom, and being unwilling that the people should be put to any further trouble where matters have been acted, and cases determined according to law; therefore, his majesty, with consent of the estates of parliament, declares that all and whatsoever acts, interlocutors, decreets and sentences made, pronounced and given forth by the said courts, superior and inferior, with all execution thereupon, and all execution by horning, inhibition, caption, comprising, poinding and others, to have been and to be valid and stand in full force, notwithstanding of the unlawfulness of the authority by which these courts were held and the execution used. But because the judges or commissioners for administration of justice did sometimes proceed in an arbitrary way, contrary to law and justice, and at other times many of them, being strangers and ignorant of the law, did proceed unwarrantably and unjustly between parties, therefore his majesty, with consent foresaid, does declare that whatsoever person or persons has any just reason to quarrel their acts, interlocutors, decreets and sentences, they are hereby warranted and allowed to do the same without any reduction or suspension within the space of one year next after the downsitting of the session, and if parties complainers be minors, within the space of year and day next after they shall attain the age of twenty-one years complete, parties being always lawfully cited thereto; and if any person or persons be charged under the pain of horning, suspension shall be granted to them upon caution, or if they be not able to find caution, upon sworn caution, and if it shall be found that the complainer does without any just ground unnecessarily vex the party complained upon, in that case the lords of the session are hereby authorised to determine the parties' damage and charges to be paid by the unjust complainer. Likewise all decreets2before the said pretended commissioners for administration of justice are hereby allowed to be brought in question, revised and re-examined in manner foresaid, and whereas there be many processes as yet depending undecided upon, summons and letters raised in the said usurpers' names, the same processes shall be all wakened in his majesty's name and be put to a final close by the lords of session as if they had been intended from the beginning in his majesty's name and authority. And whereas any acts or decreets have been made or given forth in the admiral court or any other inferior courts, the same may be brought into question before the lords of session in the same form and manner as was formerly established by the law and practice of this kingdom. And forasmuch as the said usurpers did, from time to time, nominate and appoint commissioners of exchequer, having the same power to pass all sorts of writs, signatures and others, and to discuss processes and suspensions in the same manner as his majesty's treasurer and commissioners appointed by his majesty had power to do, therefore his majesty, with advice and consent foresaid, for the good and ease of his people under the provisions underwritten, does declare all and whatsoever writs, gifts, signatures of whatsoever nature and quality they be of, passed and expedited through the privy, great and quarter seals respectively, or passed according to pretended orders for the time when there were no seals, to be of full force and effect, providing always that where any signatures were passed in exchequer under the usurpers and the composition paid, and yet not passed the seals, the same shall be presented and passed in exchequer of new, if there be reason thereof without any composition, and where resignations only have been made upon procuratories in the usurpers' time, signatures may, without new resignation, pass thereupon. It is also provided that this act be in no way extended to new gifts of lands, teinds and others passed to the prejudice of his majesty, nor to gifts of bastardy or final heir unless the same be of new ratified and approved by his majesty's treasurer and commissioners of exchequer, nor to any other gifts, confirmations, charters upon resignation where the said gifts, confirmations and charters were made and granted in prejudice of any person or persons who had former rights granted to them by his majesty or his royal father, of blessed memory, under their seals or passed their royal hands, and generally providing that all and whatsoever gifts, grants, commissions, charters and other writs whatsoever passed in exchequer and through the seals in the usurpers' time, and all and whatsoever acts and sentences pronounced and given forth by them, shall and maybe called into question at the instance of any of the people who may pretend to have been unjustly wronged and prejudiced thereby, and that upon complaints to be given in to his majesty's treasurer and commissioners of exchequer, wherein they shall have power to determine as they shall think just and reasonable.

  1. NAS. PA2/26, 87-88.
  2. APS has inserted 'whether given in absence or parties compearing'.