Legal Definition of nisi prius
: a court of record that tries an issue of fact before a jury and a single judge : trial court; also : the proceedings in such a court : the conducting of jury trials <long-distance travel eliminated the nisi prius practice of the justices — W. J. Brennan, Jr.>
Origin and Etymology of nisi prius
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 the county from which the jury is to be returned
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