Procedure for a Trial in the House of Lords
When I first began to write The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin, I set myself the task of learning more of the legal procedures practiced during the Regency Period. The trial in the book is for Major General Fitzwilliam (Colonel Fitzwilliam in the original Pride and Prejudice). We know from Austen’s book that Fitzwilliam is the second son of an earl. Because Major General Fitzwilliam does not sit in the House of Lords, his trial would take place in the court system of the time. But what if it were his father, the earl, who was accused of the crime? What might occur during such a trial?
Beyond its legislative function, the House of Lords may act as judge against one of its own. It served as a court of first instance in trials involving peers, for impeachment cases…
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