Nisi prius
Nisi Ni"si, conj. [L.] Unless; if not; -- used mostly in law. [1913 Webster]

Note: In legal proceedings, this word is used to indicate that any order, etc., shall take effect at a given time, unless before that time the order, etc., in modified, or something else is done to prevent its taking effect. Continuance nisi is a conditional continuance of the case till the next term of the court, unless otherwise disposed of in the mean time. [1913 Webster]

{Nisi prius} (Law), unless before; -- a phrase applied to terms of court, held generally by a single judge, with a jury, for the trial of civil causes. The term originated in a legal fiction. An issue of fact being made up, it is, according to the English practice, appointed by the entry on the record, or written proceedings, to be tried by a jury from the county of which the proceedings are dated, at Westminster, unless before the day appointed (nisi prius) the judges shall have come to the county in question (which they always do) and there try the cause. See {In banc}, under {Banc}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nisi prius — is a historical term in English law. In the nineteenth century, it came to be used to denote generally all legal actions tried before judges of the King s Bench Division[1] and in the early twentieth century for actions tried at assize by a judge …   Wikipedia

  • nisi prius — nisi pri·us / prī əs, prē u̇s/ n [Medieval Latin, unless before, the words introducing a clause in an English writ commanding a sheriff to provide a jury at the Court of Westminster on a certain day unless the judges of assize previously come to… …   Law dictionary

  • nisi prius — nisi prius, adj. /nuy suy pruy euhs, nee see pree euhs/, Law. 1. Also called nisi prius court. a trial court for the hearing of civil cases before a judge and jury. 2. Brit. Law. a. a writ commanding a sheriff of a county to summon a jury and… …   Universalium

  • nisi prius — [prī′əs] n. [L, unless before: used orig. in a writ directing a sheriff to summon a jury to Westminster on a certain date “unless before” that date the trial had been held in his own county] any of various courts in which a cause of action may be …   English World dictionary

  • nisi prius — /naysay prayas/ The nisi prius courts are such as are held for the trial of issues of fact before a jury and one presiding judge. In America the phrase was formerly used to denote the forum (whatever may be its statutory name) in which the cause… …   Black's law dictionary

  • nisi prius — /naysay prayas/ The nisi prius courts are such as are held for the trial of issues of fact before a jury and one presiding judge. In America the phrase was formerly used to denote the forum (whatever may be its statutory name) in which the cause… …   Black's law dictionary

  • nisi prius — ˈprīəs noun Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin, literally, unless before (words introducing a clause in the writ) 1. a. : a cause involving issues of fact that being begun in the courts of Westminster was appointed to be tried there… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Nisi prius — Lit. unless previously . A writ to the *sheriff instructing him to provide a jury at the court of Westminster on a set day, unless the assize judges came to the *county …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • nisi prius — /naɪsaɪ ˈpriəs/ (say nuysuy preeuhs) noun British Law a legal system providing for the trial of civil, and later also criminal cases locally before a single judge and jury, rather than before the central Westminster courts. {Latin: unless before; …   Australian English dictionary

  • nisi prius — Unless before. A trial before a single judge. An English court presided over by commissioners detailed on circuit from London to hold jury trials. In modern terminology, the trial, as distinguished from the appellate court, where both have… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

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