Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Essoin Definition:

A valid excuse for not appearing in Court when summoned.

Related Terms: Dedimus Potestatem de Attornato Faciendo

In Calendar, J. M. Rigg, Barrister-at-law, wrote:

"Essoin (is) a valid excuse for non-appearance before the Court, the essoiner, or person tendering the excuse on behalf of the absent party (essoinee) pledging his faith for the appearance of the essoinee on a subsequent day to warrant the excuse by oath.

"The principal (sic) essoins were misadventure (suden sickness) on the journey, absence overseas, pilgrimage to the Hly Land, confinement to bed by sickness (certified by Four Knights) (and) the King's service.

"Save in exceptional circumstances, essoinment was restrained within certain limits, i.e. for misadventure on the journey, fifteen days; for absence overseas, forty days ...; for pilgrimage to the Holy Land, a year and a day...."

Richard Burn's 1842 treatise on Eccliastical Law defined essoin as follows:

"An essoin is an excuse by which the plaintiff as well as defendant might save his default.

"In real actions a man might also be essoined for constraint of enemies, falling amongst thieves, floods, etc but this liberty grew into abuse, and essoins were often falsely cast, to impede the course of justice. Several statutes were therefore made to restrain them. The first day of term is regularly the essoin day; but three essoins being formerly allowed, three days of grace are now allowed, so that an appearance may be entered on the quarto die post, when the courts meet for the dispatch of business. But though the quarto die post is, in common language, the first day of term, judgments and other legal proceedings relate to the essoin day.

"When the defendant must appear in person, when he may appear by attorney.... [see Legal Definition of Dedimus potestatem de attornato faciendo].

"Essoin ... is derived of the French essonier or exonier, which signifies to excuse. So as an essoin, in legal understanding, is an excuse of a default by reason of some impediment or disturbance, and is as well for the plaintiff as for the defendant; and is all one with what the civilians called excusatio."


  • Burn, Richard; Phillimore, Robert, Eccliastical Law, 9th Ed. (London: Sweet, Stevens & Norton, 1842), volume 2
  • Rigg, J. M., Calendar of the Public Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews (London: MacMillan & Co., 1905).

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