Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Queen's Bench Definition:

Originally, the common criminal court of the common law; later, the general superior court.

Related Terms: King's Bench, Exchequer, Common Pleas, Court of Exchequer, Bench, Nisi Prius

"[T]he King's Bench to correct all crimes and misdemeanors that amount to a breach of the peace, the King being there (as) plaintiff, as such offenses are in open derogation of the jura regalia of his Crown."1

The traditional distinction is made between the Queen's Bench (which simply changed its name to King's Bench at times where the sitting monarch was of the other gender) and the Common Pleas, which pitted citizen against citizen - cases not involving the Crown but between its "subjects".

See also the Legal Definition of Exchequer, re the other court, that of the Court of Exchequer.


  • Williams, T. W., A Compendious and Comprehensive Law Dictionary Elucidating The Terms and General Principles of Law and Equity (London: Gale and Fenner, 1816) - NOTE #1.

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