Definitions for nisi prius

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  1. Nisi prius

    Nisi prius is a historical term in English law. In the nineteenth century, it came to be used to denote generally all legal actions tried before judges of the King's Bench Division and in the early twentieth century for actions tried at assize by a judge given a commission. Used in that way, the term has had no currency since the abolition of assizes in 1971. Nisi prius is a common legal term in the United States, however. As the term's Latin meaning indicates, the term "[court of] nisi prius" denotes the court or tribunal that originally decided a case or an interlocutory matter rather than a higher court being appealed to. In that sense, at least, it serves as a synonym for "court of original jurisdiction."

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