Front Page Titles (by Subject) Of Convocations. - Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. I
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Of Convocations. - 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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(1610) Trinity Term, 8 James I.
First Published in the Reports, volume 12, page 72.
Ed.: These notes are of a judicial conference in which the limits of the powers of a Church Convocation are discussed. Particularly, the convocation cannot change the requirements of Common Law, Statute, or custom.
Convocation.Note, it was resolved by the two chief Justices and divers other Justices, at a Committee before the Lords in the same Parliament, on divers points concerning the authority of a Convocation.
1. That a Convocation cannot assemble at their Convocation without the assent of the King.
2. That after their assembly they cannot confer together to constitute any Cannons without licence del Roy.
3. When they upon conference conclude any Cannons, yet they cannot execute any of their Cannons without Royall assent.
4. They cannot execute any after Royall assent, but with these four limitations:
1. That they be not against the Prerogative of the King.
2. Nor against the Common Law.
3. Nor gainst any Statute Law.
4. Nor against any Custome of the Realm.
And all this appears by the Statute 25 Hen. 8. cap. 19. and this was but an affirmance of what was before the said Statute, for that it appears by the 19 Edw. 3. title Quare non Admisit, 7. where it is held, that if a Cannon Law be against the Law of the Land, the Bishop ought to obey the commandment of the King, according to the Law of the Land, 10 Hen. 7. 17. there is a Cannon that no Spirituall person shall be put to answer before a secular Judge; But this does not bind, because it is against the Common Law: And it appears by the Statute of Merton cap. 9. that they in case of Bastardy, were enforced to certifie against the Law of the church, that Nati ante matrimonium fuerint Bastardi, quia Ecclesia habet tales pro legitimis, & rogaverunt omnes Episcopi Magnates quod consentirent, quod qui nati fuerint | ante matrimonium essent legitimi,1 which proves, that the Cannon Law in this point being repugnant to the Law of the Land, was not of any force: And for this, they implored the aid of the Parliament, Et omnes Comites & Barones una voce responderunt, quod nolumus leges Angliae mutari, quae huc usque usitatae sunt et approbatae.2
2 Hen. 6. 13. A Convocation may make Constitutions, by which those of the Spiritualty shall be bound, for this, that they all, or by representation, or in person, are present, but not the temporalty.
21 Edw. 4. 47. The Convocation is spirituall, and all their Constitutions are Spirituall. Vide the Records in the tower of 18 Hen. 8. 8 Edw. 1. 25 Edw. 1. 11 Edw. 2. and 15 Edw. 2.
Prohibitio Regis ne Clerus in Congregatione sua, &c. attemptet contra jus seu Coronam: alia, ne quod statuat in Concilio suo in prejudicium Regis seu legis, &c.3 By which it appears, that they can do nothing against the Law of the Land; for every part of the Law, be it Common Law, or Statute Law, cannot be abrogated nor altered without an Act of Parliament, to which every one shall be party, except for Spirituall Causes, or which concern Spirituallpersons, if it be against the Prerogative of the King and the Common Law.
[1. ][Ed.: Those born before marriage were bastards, because the Church regards them as legitimate; and all the bishops asked the great men whether they would consent that those who were born before marriage should be legitimate,]
[2. ][Ed.: And all the earls and barons answered with once voice, “We will not change the Laws of England which have until now been used and approved.”]
[3. ][Ed.: The king’s prohibition that the clergy in their convocation, etc. should not attempt anything against his right or crown. And another, that they make no enactment in their council in prejudice of the king or the Law, etc.]