[ nahy-sahy prahy-uh s, nee-see pree-uh s ]
/ ˈnaɪ saɪ ˈpraɪ əs, ˈni si ˈpri əs /
Also called nisi prius court. a trial court for the hearing of civil cases before a judge and jury.
- a writ commanding a sheriff of a county to summon a jury and bring it to the court in Westminster on a certain day, unless the judges of assizes previously came to that county.
- the clause with the words “nisi prius” introducing this writ.
- the system of judicial circuits to which judges are assigned for local trials of civil and criminal cases.
Origin of nisi prius
1300–50; Middle English < Latin: literally, unless previously, unless before
Related formsni·si-pri·us, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for nisi prius
/ (ˈpraɪəs) /
English legal history
- a direction that a case be brought up to Westminster for trial before a single judge and a jury
- the writ giving this direction
- trial before the justices taking the assizes
(in the US) a court where civil actions are tried by a single judge sitting with a jury, as distinguished from an appellate court
Word Origin for nisi prius
C15: from Latin: unless previously
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012