James Dyer



Sir James Dyer (1510 – 24 March 1582) was a
judge A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the barristers or solicitors of the case, assesses the credibility ...
and Speaker of the House of Commons during the reign of
Edward VI of England Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death in 1553. He was crowned on 20 February 1547 at the age of nine. Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour and the first E ...


Dyer was
knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the Pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the Christian denomination, church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthood ...
ed at
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea. It is the main thoroughfare running south from Trafalgar Square towards Parliament Squa ...
on 9 April 1553, Strand Inn, preparatory 1520s,
Middle Temple The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known simply as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers, the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn ...
abt. 1530, called to the bar 1537?, bencher 1540s,
serjeant-at-law A Serjeant-at-Law (SL), commonly known simply as a Serjeant, was a member of an order of barristers at the English and Irish Bar. The position of Serjeant-at-Law (''servientes ad legem''), or Sergeant-Counter, was centuries old; there are wr ...
17 Oct. 1552, MP for Wells, in Somerset, and knight of the shire for
Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs.) is a Counties of England, county in the East of England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the north-east, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and North ...
1547 and 1553, Speaker of the House of Commons 1553, justice of the peace for Cambridgeshire 1547, judge of the court of common pleas 1557, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas from January 1559 until his death. Dyer was the first law reporter, establishing the system of reporting law cases that has endured into the modern era. The concept of
legal precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Common-law legal systems place great valu ...
began with reported cases. Prior to Dyer's Reports, from 1292 up until the 16th century, law cases had been recorded in "yearbooks" and were not intended to serve as precedent in future cases. The three volume work was originally written in Anglo-French and later translated into English by John Vaillant in 1794. It covers cases from the period 1513–1582. His heir was his brother's grandson, Sir Richard Dyer.John Burke & John Bernard Burke, ''A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies'' (London, 1841), p. 179: Henry George Watson, ''A History of the Parish of Great Staughton'' (St Neots, 1916), p. 14.


"A judge of profound knowledge and judgment in the laws of the land, and principally in the form of good pleading and true entries of judgments, and of great piety and sincerity, who in his heart abhorred all corruption and deceit; of a bountiful and generous disposition, a patron and preferrer of men learned in the law and expert clerks; of singular assiduity and observation, as appears by his book of reports, all written with his own hand, and of a fine, reverend and venerable countenance and personage." (Coke, 9.14v–15)


*. * Edward Foss, ''Lives of the Judges''

External links

* 1510 births 1582 deaths Chief Justices of the Common Pleas Justices of the King's Bench English knights Speakers of the House of Commons of England Members of the Middle Temple Justices of the Common Pleas English MPs 1542–1544 English MPs 1547–1552 English MPs 1553 (Edward VI) 16th-century English judges 16th-century English lawyers Serjeants-at-law (England) {{16thC-England-MP-stub