Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Lord de la Warre's Case. - Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. I
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The Lord de la Warre’s Case. - Sir Edward Coke, Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. I 
The Selected Writings and Speeches of Sir Edward Coke, ed. Steve Sheppard (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003). Vol. 1.
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The Lord de la Warre’s Case.
(1596–1597) 39 Elizabeth I
In the Court of Parliament.
First Published in the Reports, volume 11, page 1a.
Ed.: Thomas de la Warre was an hereditary member of the House of Lords. His son, William de la Warre, was barred for his life from holding any hereditary offices or titles, although the Queen had him sit as a puisne member, roughly, as a junior member, in the Lords. William’s son Thomas sought to be seated in the Lords. Coke represented de la Warre. In this case, the court construed the nature of a disability from office for life from a permanent disability. Finding William’s disability had been personal and not a barrier to his son, and that Thomas could hold more than one title at a time, Thomas was seated as a full member in the Lords.
At the Parliament holden 39 Eliz. the Case was such: Thomas la Warre, Knight, Lord la Warre, Son and Heir of William, Son and Heir of George, Brother and Heir of Thomas, Son and Heir of Thomas Lord la Warre, exhibited his Petition to the Queen to this effect, That whereas the said Thomas his Great Grand-father was called to Parliament by Writ of Summons, An. 3 H. 8. and afterwards the said Thomas the Besayel died; after whose death Thomas his son was called to divers Parliaments by Writs of Summons, and afterwards by Act of Parliament, An. 3 E. 6. for divers causes mentioned in the said Act, it was enacted, That the said William, during his life, should be disabled to claim or enjoy any dignity or Lordship in any Right, Estate, &c. by Discent, Remainder, or otherwise, and afterwards the said Thomas, son of Thomas, died; after whose death, the said William being so disabled, was not called to any Parliament by Writ of Summons, till Queen Elizabeth called him to Parliament by Writ of Summons, and sat as puisne Lord of the Parliament, and, afterwards he died. And now the said Thomas his son being called, this Parliament by Writ of Summons sued to the Queen, that he might have the place in Parliament of his Great Grand-father, viz. between the Lord Berkeley and the Lord Willoughby of Eresby: And the said Petition was endorsed in these words, Her Majesty hath |[1 b] commanded me to signify to your Lordships, That upon the humble suit of the Lord la Warre, she is pleased that the matter shall be considered and determined in the House. Robert Cecil. Which Petition being read in the Upper House of Parliament, the consideration thereof was committed to the Lord Burghley, Lord Treasurer, and divers other Committees; who at his Chamber in Whitehal, heard the Council Learned on both parties, in the presence of the two Chief Justices, and divers other Justices; and two Objections were made against the Claim of the said Lord la Warre.
1. Forasmuch as his Father was disabled by Act of Parliament to claim the Dignity, the Petitioner could not convey by him who was disabled, as Heir to his Great Grand-father, and by consequence he cannot have the place of his Great Grand-father, but his Fathers place. But it was resolved by the Justices, That there was a difference betwixt a Personal and Temporary disability and a disability absolute and perpetual: As where one is attainted of Treason and Felony, the same is an absolute and perpetual disability by corruption of Blood, for any of his posterity to claim any Inheritance in Fee-simple, as Heir to him, or to any Ancestor above him: but when one is but disabled by Parliament (without any Attainder) to claim the Dignity for life, the same is a personal disability for his life onely, and his Heir after his death may claim as Heir to him, or to his Ancestors above him.
The second Objection was, That the said William had accepted of a new Creation of the Queen, which dignity newly gained did discend to the Petitioner, which he could not wave, and therefore the Petitioner could not have other place than his Father had. To which it was answered and resolved, That the Acceptance of a new Creation by the said William could not hurt the Petitioner, because the said William was at that time disabled, and in truth was not a Baron, but onely an Esquire; so that when the old and new Dignity discend together, the old shall be preferred. Which resolution was well approved by all the Lords Committees, which was accordingly reported to the Lords of the Parliament, and allowed by them all.
Whereupon it was ordered by the Lords, That the Queen should be acquainted with it by the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, which was done accordingly, and the Queen confirmed the same also: All which was ordered and entered accordingly; Whereupon, at the same Parliament the Lord De la Ware in his Parliament Robes was by the Lord Zouch (supplying |[2 a] the place of the Lord Willoughby, then within age) and the Lord Berkley also in their robes, brought into the House, and placed in his said place, viz. next after the Lord Berkley; Garter King of Arms attending upon them, and doing his office; And I was of Council with the Lord De la Warre.