Central Criminal Court Act 1856

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The Central Criminal Court Act 1856 (19 & 20 Vict., c.16), originally known as the Trial of Offences Act 1856 and popularly known as Palmer's Act, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act allowed a crime committed outside London to be tried at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, rather than locally.[1]


The Act was passed in direct and urgent response to anxieties that doctor and accused murderer William Palmer would not be able to have a fair trial in his native Staffordshire owing to public revulsion at the allegations. By conducting Palmer's trial at a neutral venue, there could be no appeal for a retrial on the basis that the court and jury had been prejudiced against the defendant.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Knott (1912) p.12


  • Davenport-Hines, R. (2004) "Palmer, William [ the Rugeley Poisoner] (1824–1856)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 20 July 2007 (subscription required)
  • Knott, G. H. (1912). The Trial of William Palmer (Notable English Trials ed.). Edinburgh: William Hodge & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>