In English law, a court through which the powers, privileges, and immunities reserved to the sovereign were exercised. Such courts were originally formed during the period when the sovereign's power was greater than the Parliament's. The Star Chamber, the High Commission, and the Court of Chancery all achieved importance in the 16th century. By the 17th century they were being challenged by the common law courts and competing political interests, and they were soon put out of business. Seealso Privy Council.
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They had jurisdiction to grant probate or administration where the diocesan courts could not entertain the case owing to the deceased having died possessed of goods above a set value in each of two or more dioceses. The jurisdiction of the prerogative courts was transferred to the Court of Probate in 1857 by the Probate Court Act, and is now vested in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice by the Judicature Act.