Before the year 2000, there were in print only two modest collections of reports of cases in the Court of Exchequer dating before the accession of King George I in 1714. These are the reports of Sir Richard Lane (d. 1650) and those of Thomas Hardres (d. 1681). Combined, they cover only 28 years, and the number of cases is quite minuscule compared to the other high courts of justice at Westminster. This extreme paucity of printed materials has given a false impression of unimportance of the Court of Exchequer. While it is certainly true that this court did not have the large case load of the courts of King’s Bench and Chancery in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it, nevertheless, was a significant venue for the development and exposition of the law of England at that time.

Although the jurisdiction of the Court of Exchequer was originally limited to disputes involving the royal revenue and this limitation was still enforced up to 1649, litigants who were debtors or accountants of the crown could bring to this court actions against private persons in order to recover money which could then be used to pay off their debts to the crown. This was the medieval quo minus jurisdiction in the Office of Pleas and, later, the equity jurisdiction in the Office of the King’s Remembrancer. Also the many officers of the Exchequer had the privilege of suing and being sued in the Court of Exchequer so that they would not be interrupted in the performance of their official duties. Thus, in practice, many issues involving the general civil law were decided in the Exchequer during this time, as is demonstrated by the reports printed herein...

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