In the parliamentary speech on the ex officio proceedings delivered in 1593 by James Morice, a prominent Elizabethan common lawyer, there appeared an original interpretation of the relationship between the royal prerogative and the law. Morice’s speech, aimed at declaring illegal the ex officio oath, resulted from the strengthening of the authority of the monarchy and state in the late 16th century, a distinctive feature of the last decade of Elizabeth I’s reign. The oath was imposed in particular by the court of high commission for causes ecclesiastical, whose judges received their powers from the Crown by means of letters patent. In order to achieve his objective, Morice introduced two bills in the attempt to curb the abuses of the ecclesiastical judges through legislation, one of the ordinary prerogatives. In parliament, he deployed powerful legal and political arguments to move the Queen to protect and guarantee the subjects’ rights by virtue of the royal prerogative. The exercise of the prerogative in the last decade of the Elizabethan reign is a key to understanding the transformation in governmentality that caused Morice’s parliamentary action, which anticipates the strategies later enacted by common lawyers –most notably Edward Coke – in reaction to the expanding authority of the English state and monarchy.

The Language of Constitutionalism and the Royal Prerogative in the English Parliament of 1593: James Morice’s Speech on the Ex Officio Proceedings and his Constitutional Thought

GIURATO, Rocco
2018

Abstract

In the parliamentary speech on the ex officio proceedings delivered in 1593 by James Morice, a prominent Elizabethan common lawyer, there appeared an original interpretation of the relationship between the royal prerogative and the law. Morice’s speech, aimed at declaring illegal the ex officio oath, resulted from the strengthening of the authority of the monarchy and state in the late 16th century, a distinctive feature of the last decade of Elizabeth I’s reign. The oath was imposed in particular by the court of high commission for causes ecclesiastical, whose judges received their powers from the Crown by means of letters patent. In order to achieve his objective, Morice introduced two bills in the attempt to curb the abuses of the ecclesiastical judges through legislation, one of the ordinary prerogatives. In parliament, he deployed powerful legal and political arguments to move the Queen to protect and guarantee the subjects’ rights by virtue of the royal prerogative. The exercise of the prerogative in the last decade of the Elizabethan reign is a key to understanding the transformation in governmentality that caused Morice’s parliamentary action, which anticipates the strategies later enacted by common lawyers –most notably Edward Coke – in reaction to the expanding authority of the English state and monarchy.
Absolute Monarchy, Court of High Commission, Ex Officio Oath, Monopolies, Royal Prerogative, 16-th century Constitutionalism
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/137944
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