Previous page Page 0 of 0  
Index |  History |  Highlights |  WhatWhenWhere

Bookmark and Share
Star Chamber: 14th-17th century

The court of the Star Chamber is introduced during the reign of Edward III as a means of by-passing the long delays of the common-law courts. It consists of members of the king's privy council, dispensing justice without a jury. It is used chiefly in cases involving public order, such as any form of breach of the peace.

For most of its long existence, and particularly during the Tudor period when it takes an increasing number of cases, the court is generally considered a fair and useful institution.


The Star Chamber only achieves notoriety in the 17th century, as a result of Charles I abusing its arbitrary powers. It is abolished as one of the early reforms of the Long Parliament, in 1641.

There is no certain explanation for the name, but the early references are all to a 'starred' chamber. The traditonal theory is therefore likely to be correct - that the court sits at one time in a room in the palace of Westminster where the ceiling is decorated with gilded stars.


Previous page Page 0 of 0  
Up to top of page STAR CHAMBER