nisi prius

nisi pri·​us | \ -ˈprī-əs, -ˈprē-u̇s \

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.

History and Etymology for 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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Cite this Entry

“Nisi prius.” Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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