Exchequer, Court of (ĕkschĕkˈər, ĕksˈchĕkˌər) [key], in English history, governmental agency. It originated after the Norman Conquest as a financial committee of the Curia Regis. By the reign of Henry II it had a separate organization and was responsible for the collection of the king's revenue as well as for exercising jurisdiction in cases affecting the revenue. By the latter part of the 13th cent. a separation became discernible between the court proper and the exchequer or treasury, especially with the appointment of lawyers as barons (judges) of the exchequer. Its jurisdiction over common pleas now steadily increased, to include, for example, money disputes between private litigants on the assumption that the plaintiff was indebted to the crown and needed payment from the defendant to enable him to pay the king. A second Court of Exchequer Chamber was set up in 1585 to amend errors of the Court of the King's Bench. From an amalgamation in 1830, a single Court of Exchequer emerged as a court of appeal intermediate between the common-law courts and the House of Lords. In 1875 the Court of Exchequer became, by the Judicature Act of 1873, the exchequer division of the High Court of Justice, and in 1880 was combined with the Court of Common Pleas into the Queen's Bench.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.