Hale, Sir Matthew, 1609–76, English jurist. He was successively a judge in the Court of Common Pleas (1654), chief baron of the Exchequer (1660), and chief justice of the Court of King's Bench (1671). Because of his lack of partisanship, he served under Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II. Hale is best known for his scholarly works on criminal law, including Pleas of the Crown (1678) and History of the Pleas of the Crown (2 vol., 1736–39). His History of the Common Law of England (1713) was a pioneer work.
See biography by G. Burnet (1682, repr. 1972).
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