The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2Allen, Thomas
The Lord Mayor's Court.
This is a court of record held before the lord mayor and aldermen, but substantially the recorder is the judge, wherein actions of debt, trespass, attachments, &c. arising within the city and liberties of any value may be tried, and actions from the sheriffs' court removed hither, before the jury be sworn.
This is also a court of chancery or equity, respecting affairs transacted in the city and liberties; and gives relief when judgment is obtained in the sheriffs' court, for more than the just debt. This court has an office peculiar to itself, held at present in the west wing of the , consisting of attorneys, by whom all actions cognizable therein are entered, for the execution whereof there are serjeants at mace, who daily attend in the said office.
To this court and that of the sheriffs is confined the peculiar privilege attached to the city of London (in common only with a few ancient trading cities in England) of foreign attachment, a process anomalous to the common law of the land, but of great benefit to the citizens of London and the community at large, inasmuch as large sums are daily received by such means, which in consequence of the absence of the debtors from the kingdom, would be otherwise lost. The custom is this, if a creditor finds within the city of London, goods or money belonging to his debtor, in the hands of a factor or banker, or that any person is indebted to such debtor, he can attach such goods, money, or debts, and if the debtor does not give bail for his appearance before judgment is obtained in the attachment, the plaintiff recovers the thing attached. But as this might work an injustice to the debtor, in consequence of his absence from the country at the time judgment is given against his property, the plaintiff in the attachment gives security to restore the money, if the debtor comes into court within a year and a day after the judgment, and shews that the debt of the party attaching, is not a just . The costs of proceedings in the cause are so low, when compared
|with the courts at , as to render proceedings here, when they can be adopted, very desirable to the party sueing. In addition to the peculiar practices of the court, all actions which are maintainable in the superior courts, can be maintained and tried in the lord mayor's court; and as the stat. of and Geo. IV. c. , s. , confines debts under to this court, great advantages are derived to the parties sueing, inasmuch as a just debt must be recovered in a space of little more than weeks, which is in general the utmost time a defendant can gain, at a comparatively trifling expense. The advantages attending the commencement of actions in this court are so great, as to account for the quantity of business and the large sums which are constantly recovered there.|
The juries for trying causes in this, and the sheriffs' courts, are by the several courts of wardmote annually returned at Christmas, when each ward, according to custom, appoint a sufficient number of persons to serve on the said juries for every month of the year, as follows:
January.-, Portsoken, and .
March.-Bassishaw and Cripplegate within and without.
April.-Vintry and .
May.-Tower and .
August.-Aldersgate, , and .
September.-Farringdon within and Castle Baynard.
October.-, Dowgate, and .
November.-Langbourn and .
December.-Candlewick, Cordwainer, and Bishopsgate.