Drawing up the Charges - Quarter Sessions and Assizes
Before a case was heard in the Quarter Sessions or Assizes, the Court Clerks drew up indictments according to set formulas, as well as 'recognizances' of those who had been bound over to appear. They could also make use of written information taken from those involved by the magistrates.
This was an important part of the procedure, as the way in which the offence was defined would determine the punishment received (if convicted). For example, there were several offences under the general category of 'theft' and some carried the death penalty.