Actions/Writs in Use at Common Law

Actions overtly concerned with real property (the real actions) constituted about 80% of enrollments through most of the thirteenth century. In the reign of Edward I (see Palmer, The County Courts of Medieval England (1982), chapter 8), actions claiming debts or the equivalent and cases alleging wrongs increased dramatically. While the percentage of real actions then declined, the actual number of real actions continued to increase through to the Black Death in a much larger pool of litigation. After the Black Death the old real actions rapidly fell into disuse except as necessary precursors to final concords or common recoveries, although there was a continuing but much smaller element of dower litigation. After the Black Death litigation about rights to real property took place either in the chancellor's court of conscience (which became the primary equity court) outside the common law or under suits for trespass or performance bonds (see Palmer, English Law in the Age of the Black Death (1993), chapter 7).

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