John Pratt

English judge and politician
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Sir John Pratt (1657 – 1725) was an English judge and politician. He was Lord Chief Justice of England from May 15, 1718 until March 2, 1725. He was appointed as an interim Chancellor of the Exchequer on February 2, 1721, until April 3, 1721. He was the father of Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden.

Sir John Pratt LCJ, 1710 portrait by Michael Dahl.


  • It is the glory and happiness of our excellent constitution, that to prevent any injustice no man is to be concluded by the first judgment; but that if he apprehends himself to be aggrieved, he has another Court to which he can resort for relief; for this purpose the law furnishes him with appeals, with writs of error and false judgment.
    • King v. Chancellor, &c, of the University of Cambridge (1720), 1 Str. Rep. 564.
  • Is ill-language a justification for blows?
    • Case of Hugh Reason and another (1722), 16 How. St. Tr. 44; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 147.
  • I do not see to what purpose we exercise a superintendency over all inferior jurisdictions, unless it be to inspect their proceedings, and see whether they are regular or not. I have often heard it said that nothing shall be presumed one way or the other in an inferior jurisdiction.
    • Rex v. Cleg (1722), 1 Stra. 476.
  • Certainly the opinion of all the Judges of later times, must have more weight than the extra-judicial opinion of a single Judge at any former time.
    • 16 How. St. Tr. 112.
  • It is dangerous to make a precedent, an innovation.
    • 16 How. St. Tr. 132.
  • You have a right to discourse with your counsel, but you must do it in such a manner as the jury may not hear.
    • 16 How. St. Tr. 177.
  • What is introductory goes for nothing, but it is in order to explain the evidence.
    • 16 How. St. Tr. 181.
  • Consider a little how you treat the Court; the objection hath been solemnly taken in this Court, argued and adjudged by this Court, and now you come to arraign that judgment that was then given.
    • 16 How. St. Tr. 313.
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