Court of Star Chamber – A royal law court that could be used by the King’s subject to get justice.
An Ancient high court of England, controlled by the monarch, which was abolished in 1641 by Parliament for abuses of power.
Wolsey was the head of the Star Chamber
Origin of Star Chamber
* The court took its name from the "Star Chamber" or "Starred Chamber" which was built during the reign of King Edward II specifically for the meetings of the King's Council.
* The room at the royal palace of Westminster, where the court would sit had stars painted on the ceiling, hence the name "Star Chamber."
* The ceiling of the chamber in which the court convened was supposedly painted with a representation of the night sky, including stars, so that the accused could gaze upon the decorated ceiling and contemplate his place in the universe.
Purpose of the Star Chamber:
* To ...view middle of the document...
* Known cases during Wolsey’s lifetime: in 1515 the earl of Northumberland was sent to fleet prison and in 1516.
* Northumberland was suspected as being suspected of being too friendly with Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and was sent to Fleet Prison in 1516 (Buckingham had been suspected of potentially treasonous actions and Henry VIII authorised an investigation. He was executed on Tower Hill on 17th May 1521) .
* Possibly he was only put there so that Wolsey might have credit of getting him out.
* After the reformation, the Star Chamber was misused to inflict punishment on religious dissenters
Punishments Ordered by the Star Chamber:
The choice of punishment was arbitrary -- that is, not dictated by guidelines or laws.
Judges could choose the punishment they felt was most appropriate to the crime or criminal. The punishments allowed were:
* Time in the pillory (or stocks)
Advantages of the Star Chamber:
The Star Chamber offered expeditious resolution to legal conflicts. It was popular during the reigns of the Tudor kings, because it was able to enforce the law when other courts were plagued by corruption, and because it could offer satisfactory remedies when the common law restricted punishment or failed to address specific infractions. Under the Tudors, Star Chamber hearings were public matters, so proceedings and verdicts were subject to inspection and ridicule, which led most judges to act with reason and justice.
Disadvantages of the Star Chamber:
The concentration of such power in an autonomous group, not subject to the checks and balances of common law, made abuses not only possible but likely, especially when its proceedings were not open to the public. Although the death sentence was forbidden, there were no restrictions on imprisonment, and an innocent man could spend his life in jail.