Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 805 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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AMERCEMENT, or AMERCIAMENT (derived, through the Fr. (I merci, from Lat. merces, pay), in English law, an arbitrary pecuniary penalty, inflicted in old days on an offender by the peers or equals of the party amerced. The word has in modern times become. practically a poetical synonym for fine or de-privation. But an amercement differed from a fixed fine, prescribed. by statute, by reason of its arbitrary nature; it represented a commutation of a sentence of forfeiture of goods, while a fine was originally a composition agreed upon between the judge and the prisoner to avoid imprisonment. The fixing or assessment of an ,amercement was termed an afeerment. In the lower courts the amercement was offered by a jury of the offender's neighbours (affeerors); in the superior courts by the coroner, except in the case of officers of the court, when the amount was affeered by the judges themselves. All judgments were entered on the court roll as "in mercy" (sit in misericordia), and the word misericordia, or some contracted form of it, was written on the margin. Articles twenty to twenty-two of Magna Carta regulated the assessment of amercements, See Stephen, History of Criminal Law; Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law; W. S. McKechnie, Magna Carta (19os).
End of Article: AMERCEMENT, or AMERCIAMENT (derived, through the Fr. (I merci, from Lat. merces, pay)
AMERIA (mod. Amelia)

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