<p>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 and in the early twentieth century for actions tried at assize by a judge given a commission. Used in that way, the term has had no currency since the abolition of assizes in 1971. Nisi prius is a common legal term in the United States, however. As the term's Latin meaning ("unless first") indicates, the term "[court of] nisi prius" denotes the court or tribunal that originally decided a case or an interlocutory matter rather than a higher court being appealed to. In that sense, at least, it serves as a synonym for "court of original jurisdiction."
Before the reforms of the Judicature Act 1873, civil cases at common law were begun in one of the three courts that sat in Westminster Hall: the Court of Common Pleas, Court of Exchequer and King's Bench. Because of their historical origins, these courts were to some extent in competition, especially as their respective judges and officers lived off the fees deriving from them. Given that travel to London was an onerous burden during the medieval period,</p>