Puisne (from Old French "puisne", modern "puîné", later born, inferior; Lat. "postea", afterwards, and "natus", born) is a term in law meaning "inferior in rank." It is pronounced "puny," and the word, so spelled, has become an ordinary adjective meaning weak or undersized.

The judges and barons of the common law courts at Westminster, other than those having a distinct title, were called puisne. By the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1877, a "puisne judge" is deemed a judge of the High Court other than the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Master of the Rolls, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and their successors respectively. See now the Supreme Court Act 1981, [http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Legislation&Year=1981&searchEnacted=0&extentMatchOnly=0&confersPower=0&blanketAmendment=0&sortAlpha=0&TYPE=QS&PageNumber=1&NavFrom=0&parentActiveTextDocId=2033370&ActiveTextDocId=2033380&filesize=8407 section 4] .

Puisne courts existed as lower courts in the early stages in the judiciary in British North America, in particular Upper Canada and Lower Canada.

ee also

* Puisne Justice - the title of a judge, other than the chief justice, of a superior court of a common law jurisdiction.



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  • Puisne — Puis ne (p[=u] n[y^]), a. [See {Puny}.] 1. Later in age, time, etc.; subsequent. [Obs.] A puisne date to eternity. Sir M. Hale. [1913 Webster] 2. Puny; petty; unskilled. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 3. (Law) Younger or inferior in rank; junior;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • puisne — index inferior (lower in position) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 puisne …   Law dictionary

  • puisné — Puisné, Puisnée. adj. Cadet. Qui est né depuis un de ses freres, ou une de ses soeurs. C est mon frere puisné. Il est aussi subst. C est mon puisné. vous ne serez pas mariée si tost, vous estes la puisnée. l aisné doit partage à ses puisnez …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • puisne — is pronounced like puny and is derived from French puis né meaning ‘born afterwards’, hence ‘inferior’. A puisne judge is a judge of a superior court inferior in rank to chief justices …   Modern English usage

  • Puisne — Puis ne, n. One who is younger, or of inferior rank; a junior; esp., a judge of inferior rank. [1913 Webster] It were not a work for puisnes and novices. Bp. Hall. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • puisné — Puisné, Quasi Post natus, Minor natu …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • puisne — [pyo͞o′nē] Chiefly Brit. adj. [OFr, lit., born later: see PUNY] of lower rank; junior, as in appointment n. an associate justice as distinguished from chief justice …   English World dictionary

  • puisne — adjective Etymology: Anglo French puisné younger more at puny Date: 1688 chiefly British inferior in rank < puisne judge > • puisne noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • puisne — noun /ˈpju.ni/ inferior in rank. A puisne justice of a court is a judge other than the chief justice …   Wiktionary

  • puisne — puis•ne [[t]ˈpyu ni[/t]] adj. law Chiefly Brit. junior in rank: a puisne judge[/ex] • Etymology: 1590–1600; < AF, = OF puis after (< L posteā) +ne born, ptp. of naistre to be born (< L nāscere); cf. puny …   From formal English to slang

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