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The first magistrate court in England and Wales evolved in the late 13th century. The proliferation of courts resulted in a lot of political interference, resulting in an upheaval in the year 1387, when six judges were sentenced to death, with one execution.

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Early courts had a trial by combat where a fighting championship was organized with candidates from both the parties, with the prize being the disputed money/property.

This unconventional and controversial method was banned in the early 19th century.

Martin de Pateshull was one of the finest lawyers of England and became the Justice of the bench in 1217. 

Advocates who practised at the Court of Common Pleas and eventually graduated to the post of professional judges, the first one being Lawrence de Brok in 1268.

Bribes and under the table payments were quite common in the 13th century, though they were under oath not to accept gifts or rewards. The salaries of judges were increased to curb bribery.


History Of The Judiciary: Trial By Ordeal

The Judicial system is over a thousand years old, taking over from the royal Kings courts prevalent in the era.

Early courts in medieval times used the dangerous ‘Trial By Ordeal’ method,where the accused would be forced to get their hands burnt, and if the person healed in three days, he was considered not guilty.

The _Water ordeal w_as equally brutal and baffling, where the accused would be tied up and put in water. If they sank, they were innocent, and if they were guilty, they would float.

The very first judges after courts became independent were in the 12th century, selected from King’s court judges and those who had administrative and judicial jurisdiction.


Henry II established the first first jury of 12 local knights in order to settle land disputes. The Court of Common Pleas was initiated in the year 1178, in order to hear the complaints of citizens.

Crown courts, that is the modern court, were established in 1956 in Liverpool and Manchester. The role of the Lord Chancellor changed significantly as late as 2006 due to the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005.

In the present times, the judiciary in the United Kingdom is recognized as an independent entity, not influenced by the government, at least officially.

The 15th and 16th century saw a lot of exclusions, removals and clashes between the Kings and the law makers. The judiciary became more and more independent, with an increase in salaries in the 17th century. 

The tension between the preferences of the King and the judgements of the judiciary were still present, until 1701 when new laws were set up to prevent judges being removed from office.

  • The 18th century saw many developments and enhancement in the roles of judges, but the judiciary system was still slow and prone to corruption.
  • The cases were gradually shifted to the King's council, which consisted of an individual: The Lord Chancellor.
  • Slowly the same problems came to plague the Court of Chancery, which had become a rival to the previous law courts.
  • Further changes using the Law Terms Act in 1830 lead to the setting up of the Central Criminal Court, which was a one-stop-destination for the London area.
  • County courts were set up in 1846 for the handling of civil cases.
  • The first Song Of The Year was in Italian (1959). The Grammy Awards judges gave the prize to Domenico Modugno's Volare.
  • Jimmy Webb's By the Time I Get To Phoenix is regarded as one of the classic songs in the 1960s. The Grammy panel gave it a nomination for best song in 1967, but another song, written by Webb, Up, Up And Away, won.
  • OC Smith covered Bobby Russell's Little Green Apples in 1968 and won the Song Of The Year Grammy.
The Grammys: The greatest song of the year

The Grammys identification of the greatest song of the year is more complex than most rewards.

  • Song Of The Year rewards the songwriters who wrote and composed the song.
  • The awards have Record Of The Year, which goes to the singer and production team.
  • The Doobie Brothers Michael McDonald found himself nominated twice in the same year, but with two different writing partners. The winner was the song co-written with Kenny Loggins, What A Fool Believes.
  • Despite Michael Jackson's chart-topping domination, neither he nor his songwriting partners had success during the 80s. However, Beat It won the category for 1983, and Thriller won Album Of The Year.
  • Bette Midler Wind Beneath My Wings won in 1989, and a year later, followed it up with From A Distance.
  • The Beatles won only once for the song Michelle, of the album Rubber Soul.
  • From 1975, a string of pop classics was seen, such as The Bee Gees' Jive Talkin' and David Bowie's Fame, but the jury decided on Judy Collins' Send In The Clowns.
  • Only one of all the fantastic pop songs from the James Bond films has earned a nomination for Song Of The Year - Carly Simon's Nobody Does It Better - but it lost out to two other compositions for films, Evergreen and You Light Up My Life.
  • The Grammys and the Oscars often go hand in hand. 1994 was noteworthy because three of the songs nominated were from films. Victory went to Bruce Springsteen Streets of Philadelphia.
  • Some of the world's biggest artists have never been recognised nor nominated. The Rolling Stones, Madonna, David Bowie and Queen have never been nominated. Sinead O'Connor's version of Nothing Compares To You was Prince's only nomination.
  • In 1987, U2 was nominated for I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. But it was only in 2000 that they took the honours with Beautiful Day, and five years later with another for Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.
  • The award for 2017 went to Bruno Mars' That's What I Like. A record of seven writers contributed to the song.

Adult birds develop navigational maps inside them to help them travel to faraway lands. How this happens is still a mystery and various theories are being considered: infra-sound, smells, and gravity variations.

A theory gathering some evidence is that the earth’s magnetic field forms a grid that is followed by the birds.

Studies done on the reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), a Eurasian migratory bird, provide clear evidence of the magnetic field.

The Navigational Precision Of Birds

Billions of songbirds migrate every year to different lands thousands of miles away, and the way they reach the exact same place to nest is fascinating and is as if they have precise GPS instruments installed in them.

This mysterious sense of compass direction is due to a ‘magnetic map’ that is very much like the way we use GPS (Cartesian coordinates).

In a representative people's monarchy, the people have the power while the monarch has none.

The British royal family are not supposed to express political opinions. When Elizabeth II reads out the policies of 'Her' government in the Queen's Speech at the Opening of Parliament, she represents the power of the people whose votes put the prime minister of the moment into office. She is a mouthpiece of that government but does not express her own opinions.

The role of the royal family across the Commonwealth is that of morale boosters.

Younger family members are expected to join the armed forces or participate in some useful social service. Royal people present medals to brave soldiers and cups to sporting teams. They are expected to set a good example wherever they go.

People identify with people. While politicians come and go, the royal family creates a sense of human continuity at the centre of society.

History shows that rebels and non-conformists in the family can create more affection than good ones. Diana, the maverick Princess, topped many of the royal popularity polls all over the world.

The British royal family survived by being more open and flexible than many others.

The French monarchy was destroyed in a blood-bath in the 1790s because it aligned itself with an oppressive aristocratic upper class who exploited the people. In contrast, the British royal family kept company with merchants and entrepreneurs and was encouraging scientific research. Generally, the British kings accepted the will of the people as expressed through parliament.

Why Britain has a royal family

For centuries, virtually every country in the western world had some sort of king and royal family.

Some people in republics like France or the United States will say that clever people grew out of them. Monarchy lovers will respond that really clever countries kept their monarchies. They argue that royal families embody their country's human roots and identity. Brave kings and queens often become symbols of their nation's unity in times of war or crises.

  • Critics say the institution of the monarchy is old-fashioned and artificially maintaining privileges of a bygone era.
  • When the young royal joins the armed forces, they are automatically made officers, leading to inequality and hierarchy.
  • Others complain that royals do insufficient work for the tax-payers money.
  • Constitutionally, the splendour of the monarchy allows politicians to hide behind unearned 'palace prestige.'
  • Atheists, agnostics, and free-thinkers condemn the royal family's endorsement of the Church of England.

The royal family take their titles from the English shires - York, Lancaster, Gloucester, Cornwall.

  • Prince Charles is Duke of Cornwall
  • Prince Andrew is Duke of York
  • Prince Edward is Earl of Wessex

For the next generation of royals,

  • Prince William is Duke of Cambridge
  • Prince Harry is Duke of Sussex

In term of precedence, the five male titles of the peerage are Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron. Duke is the highest and most exclusive.

  • The present Queen received her title in 1952 from her father, George VI, whose claim went through his father, George V, to Queen Victoria.
  • Today, the line of succession of the House of Windsor runs through Prince Charles (1), to his son Prince William (2) and then to his eldest son Prince George (3).

Succession runs through the male heirs, except when no male heirs are available. That law changed in 2015 for members of the royal family born after 28 October 2011.

Briitish taxpayers fund the royal family, which totalled £82.2m in 2018/19. This paid for their 3,200 royal engagements at home and abroad, with over 160,000 guests being welcomed at royal palaces for events. It also financed the reservicing of Buckingham Palace for £85m over the next five years.

While that is a lot of money, in 2016 alone, over 2.7 million tourists visited Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and other key royal attractions, boosting Britains tourist revenues by £550m.

In 1890, an official document was created specifying the fundamental standards for length and mass, based on metric units, including conversion standards.

This was called the International Prototype Metre (for length) and the International Prototype Kilogram (for mass) and was stipulated in 1893, and later refined in 1959.

Apart from the cost involved in the mass adoption of the metric system, the reason for the sporadic deployment is also due to resistance towards change, and the American stubbornness towards adopting something coming from foreign shores, even though what is already in use seems good enough.

Making the conversion process voluntary without any imposition, has resulted in a vast majority of Americans still thinking in terms of inches and pounds.

  • In 1971, the National Bureau of Standards recommended that the United States start the transition to the metric system, to complete it in ten years. This was later again tangled in opposing laws, with the conversion made voluntary, and the deadline stripped out.
  • As the world moved towards globalization, American manufacturers and exporters had to adjust to the global measuring units out of necessity.
  • The Metric Conversion Act was passed in 1988, making it the preferred way of measurement.
  • The Pharma industry fully adopted the metric move, while other sectors did it partially, making the adoption stand at about 30 percent.
Metric and Customary Systems

A brainchild of France, the metric system, or decimal-based measurement protocol, has not yet been adopted fully by many countries including the United States. This results in a different measurement unit for just about everything.

The U.S. Customary System is an inch-pound system having about 300 distinct units of measurement. A football field is measured in yards, while a race goes by meters. Air pressure is measured in PSI(for tires) but surface atmospheric pressure is calculated in inches on mercury, and air pressure in millibars.

The US inherited many rules and standards from the British Empire, including the British Imperial System, which had evolved from the weights and measures used in medieval times.

Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary Of State back in 1790 endorsed the decimal system of measurement in principle, but could not implement it due to political issues. Hostilities with France complicated the situation, and the United States could not persuade anyone to adopt the metric system.

The growing adoption of the metric system worldwide as of 1866 could not be ignored in the United States any longer. France was more accommodating this time, and a Treaty Of The Meter was signed.

An international committee for Weights and Measures was established, called the International Bureau Of Weights and Measures.

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