[nahy-sahy prahy-uh s, nee-see pree-uh s]
- Also called nisi prius court. a trial court for the hearing of civil cases before a judge and jury.
- British Law.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
C15: from Latin: unless previously