Assizes, the:

Although the term assizes can refer to many things, in Sherlock Holmes it usually refers to the courts of Assizes, meaning a court that met twice a year in each county to hear criminal cases. So if you were to be hauled up to the Assizes, you might have to wait some time. In 1971, the courts of Assizes were combined in England and Wales into the permanent Crown Court.

BOSC — “James McCarthy was acquitted at the Assizes on the strength of a number of objections which had been drawn out by Holmes and submitted to the defending counsel.”

Judges who were dispatched to hear cases at the Assizes were called circuit judges, or possibly circus judges by Horace Rumpole. The circuits were:

  • Home, Norfolk and South-Eastern Circuits
  • Midland Circuit
  • Northern and North-Eastern Circuits
  • Oxford Circuit
  • Welsh Circuits including Chester
  • Western Circuit

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