An American Lawyer in the Queen’s Courts: Impressions of English Civil Procedure

While the words “English Civil Procedure” in the title of this lecture might suggest that there is a single English system, there are in fact a number of them. In the High Court itself, the court of general jurisdiction, a suit in Chancery Division proceeds differently from an action in Queen’s Bench Division: the English have made less of a fetish of the “one form of action” than we have. Procedure in the County Courts, the courts for small-debt collection and miscellaneous claims, contrasts with those of the High Court. But Queen’s Bench procedure for the staple cases of some consequence is the model of civil procedure in English minds. Similarly, our Federal Rules system, although it is but one of several systems alive in our country, has emerged as the prototype for us. I shall be dealing with these two models.