Benefit of Clergy

Exemption from the jurisdiction of civil courts granted to the clergy in England from the time of William the Conqueror, and lasting with occasional restrictions down to 1827 when it was abolished. In the early days it was even extended to all who could read, since as a rule only clerics had that accomplishment. The exemption was recognized in the American colonies until denied by Act of Congress, 1790.

New Catholic Dictionary

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