quarter sessions

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noun Law.

an English court of general criminal jurisdiction for crimes less than homicide, held quarterly.
(in the U.S.) a court with limited criminal jurisdiction, having local administrative powers in some states.

Origin of quarter sessions

First recorded in 1570–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for quarter sessions

quarter sessions

noun (functioning as singular or plural)

(in England and Wales, formerly) a criminal court held four times a year before justices of the peace or a recorder, empowered to try all but the most serious offences and to hear appeals from petty sessions. Replaced in 1972 by crown courtsSee also crown court Compare assizes
(in Scotland, formerly) a court held by justices of the peace four times a year, empowered to hear appeals from justice of the peace courts and to deal with some licensing matters: abolished in 1975

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