New York State Supreme Court of Judicature (Utica) Common Rule Books

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Common rule books contain a record of common rules or orders of the court, entered by the clerk on motion made by an attorney for one of the parties to a cause. Motions for common rules were granted as a matter of course during a court term or in vacation between terms.
48 cubic feet (90 volumes)
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


Alphabetic by first letter of attorney's name, then chronological.

Scope and Content Note

Records of court rules resulting from motions made by attorneys provide title of the cause, name of attorney making the motion, and the rule granted. The rules include orders to plead, orders for judgment favoring the defendant or plaintiff, orders regarding a defendant's appearance in court, orders to a sheriff to arrest a defendant, and other orders.

Common rule books contain a record of common rules or orders of the court, entered by the clerk on motion made by an attorney for one of the parties to a cause. Motions for common rules were granted as a matter of course during a court term or in vacation between terms. The common rules appearing most frequently in these books are: order to defendant to plead within twenty days after service of notice of filing of plaintiff's declaration; order to plaintiff to reply to defendant's plea; order to defendant to rejoin to plaintiff's replication to defendant's plea; order to plaintiff to join in demurrer; order to enter defendant's default for want of a plea to plaintiff's declaration; order for judgment in favor of defendant as in case of non-suit by the plaintiff; order for judgment in favor of plaintiff, on filing of a cognovit by the defendant; order for interlocutory judgment in favor of plaintiff with order to a court clerk or to referees to assess and report the amount of damages due; order for interlocutory judgment on defendant's default, with order that a writ of inquiry issue to a sheriff to summon jurors to make an inquisition into the amount of damages; order for final judgment on filing of clerk's or referees' report, or sheriff's inquisition; and order for final judgment on filing the nisi prius record (after 1829 called circuit roll) returned from a Circuit Court, to which an issue had been sent for trial and verdict.

Occasionally the rule books contain orders regarding defendant's appearance in court: order to a sheriff to take a defendant into custody within twenty days, in cases where an arrested defendant had failed to put in bail; order for attachment of property of sheriff who had failed to bring in a defendant; order to enter appearance of a defendant who had endorsed the writ of capias ad respondendum served upon him by the sheriff; and in causes brought into the Supreme Court by writ of certiorari or writ of habeas corpus, order to defendant to appear and put in bail or have a writ of procedendo issue against him.

In actions of ejectment prior to 1830 the following common rules are found: order to defendant, or ejector (called the tenant), and to a fictitious ejectee to appear and plead; order for judgment in favor of the plaintiff on default of the tenant; or an order for judgment on return and filing of the nisi prius record by which it appeared that the plaintiff was non-suited at the trial for lack of a confession of lease, entry, and ouster by the tenant (that is to say, judgment was to be awarded to the fictitious ejectee, which had the effect of granting possession to the real owner, the plaintiff in the action). Legislation of 1829 abolished the fiction that the action of ejectment concerned a lease.

In cases brought into Supreme Court on writ of error, the common rule books contain the order to defendant in error to join in error; order to plaintiff in error to assign errors (that is, to state the grounds on which he alleges error); and order to enter default of defendant in error for not joining in error. Other common rules entered were to change the venue or to issue a commission for the taking of testimony from material witnesses. These were technically special rules based on non-enumerated motions; they are usually entered in the Minute Books.

Each entry of a common rule contains the title of the name of the attorney moving the court, and the rule granted. (The first party in the title may be either the plaintiff or the defendant, depending on which was granted the rule. If it is the defendant, the form is "John Smith ads. William Jones;" the "ads." stands for ad sectam, "at the suit of." The clerks of the Supreme Court of Judicature were directed to keep common rule books by order of the court made in April term, 1796.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series J0027 New York State Supreme Court of Judicature (Albany, Utica, and Geneva) Writs of Inquiry and Inquisitions

Series J0126 New York State Supreme Court of Judicature (Utica) Motions and

Series J1013 New York State Supreme Court of Judicature (Utica) Declarations and Motions contain related records.

Custodial History

The Court of Appeals placed these records on deposit at the Historical Documents Collection, Queens College, from 1973-1982.

Access Terms

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Detailed Description

Dates Contents Box Volume

Accretion: J2165-82
1812 Jan.-1814 April/1816 Feb.-1817 Jan. A/B 1 1
1813 July-1814 August/1807 Oct.-1814 March A/B 1 2
1818 Jan.-1821 Oct./1818 Feb.-1821 Oct. A/B 2 3
1821 Nov.-1826 Mar./1821 Oct.-1826 Mar. A/B 2 4
1826 Mar.-1828 Aug./1826 Mar.-1828 Aug. A/B 3 5
1828 Oct.-1830 Oct./1828 Aug.-1830 Nov. A/B 3 6
1830 Nov.-1834 Jul./1830 Nov.-1834 Jul. A/B 3 7
1834 Jan.-1837 Jan./1834 Jul.-1837 Jan. A/B 4 8
1837 Jan.-1839 Jan. A/B 4 9
1839 Jan.-1841 Aug. A/B 4 10
1841 Sept.-1847 Jan./1841 Aug.-1847 Jul. A/B 5 11
1807 Sept.-1816 Jan./1809 Dec.-1817 June C/D 5 12
1816 Feb.-1819 Apr./1816 May-1819 Mar. C/D 6 13
1819 Apr.-1822 Mar./1819 Apr.-1822 Apr. C/D 6 14
1822 May-1826 Mar. C/D 7 15
1826 Mar.-1828 Aug./1826 Apr.-1828 Aug. C/D 7 16
1828 Aug.-1831 Jul. C/D 8 17
1831 Jul.-1834 Jul. C/D 8 18
1834 Jul.-1836 Dec./1836 Jul.-1836 Dec. C/D 8 19
1836 Dec.-1838 Aug. C/D 9 20
1838 Aug.-1840 May C/D 9 21
1840 Sep.-1846 Apr. C/D 9 22
1846 Apr.-1847 Jul. C 10 23
1846 Apr.-1847 Jul. D 10 24
1807 Oct.-1819 Jan./1807 Nov.-1819 Jan. E/F 11 25
1819 Jan.-1826 Mar. E/F 11 26
1826 Apr.-1833 Jul./1826 Apr.-1833 Sep. E/F 12 27
1833 Sep.-1843 Oct. E/F 12 28
1843 Oct.-1847 June E/F 13 29
1807 Sep.-1817 Apr. G/H 13 30
1817 Apr.-1822 Mar./1817 May-1822 Mar. G/H 14 31
1822 Mar.-1826 May G/H 14 32
1826 May-1828 Aug./1821 May-1828 Aug. G/H 15 33
1828 Aug.-1832 Mar. G/H 15 34
1832 Mar.-1836 Mar. G/H 15 35
1836 Mar.-1838 Aug. G/H 16 36
1838 Aug.-1842 Aug. G/H 16 37
1842 Aug.-1847 Jul./1842 Sep.-1847 Jul. G/H 16 38
1811 Feb.-1818 Dec./1807 Sep.-1817 Aug. IJ/K 17 39
1817 Dec.-1825 Feb./1817 Aug.-1825 Jan. IJ/K 17 40
1825 Feb.-1829 May I/K 17 41
1829 May-1833 Jan. J/K 18 42
1833 Jan.-1838 Sep. J/K 18 43
1838 Sep.-1846 Apr./1838 Sep.-1846 June J/K 18 44
1846 May-1847 June J 19 45
1846 June-1847 June K 19 46
1807 Sep.-1816 May L/M 19 47
1816 May-1819 Aug. L/M 20 48
1819 Aug.-1824 Mar. L/M 20 49
1824 Mar.-1827 Aug. L/M 21 50
1827 Aug.-1829 Oct./1827 Aug.-1829 Nov. L/M 21 51
1829 Nov.-1833 Apr. L/M 22 52
1833 Apr.-1836 June L/M 22 53
1836 June-1838 Aug. L/M 23 54
1838 Aug.-1841 Jan./1838 Aug.-1841 Feb. L/M 23 55
1841 Feb.-1846 Mar. L/M 23 56
1846 Apr.-1847 Jul. M 24 57
1846 Apr.-1847 Jul. L 24 58
1807 Nov.-1819 Jul./1807 Oct.-1819 Jul. NO/P 25 59
1819 Jul.-1824 May NO/P 25 60
1822 Sep.-1829 Nov./1824 Sep.-1829 Nov. NO/P 26 61
1829 Nov.-1836 Jan. NO/P 26 62
1836 Jan.-1838 Oct. NO/P 26 63
1838 Oct.-1845 Sep./1838 Oct.-1845 Aug. NO/P 27 64
1845 Oct.-1847 June NO 27 65
1845 Oct.-1847 June P 27 66
Undated/1807 Sep.-1826 Apr. QR 28 67
1826 Apr.-1835 June R 28 68
1833 Jan.-1837 Dec./1835 Sep.-1837 Dec. RS 28 69
1837 Dec.-1840 May/1837 Dec.-1840 Jan. RS 29 70
1840 May-1847 June/1837 Dec.-1847 Apr. R/UVY 29 71
1807 Oct.-1813 Apr./1807 Sep.-1813 May S/T 30 72
1813 Apr.-1817 Aug./1813 May-1817 Aug. S/T 30 73
1817 Aug.-1820 Sep. S/T 30 74
1820 Sep.-1824 Aug. S/T 31 75
1824 Aug.-1827 Feb. S/T 31 76
1827 Feb.-1829 Apr. S/T 32 77
1829 Apr.-1832 Aug./1829 Apr.-1832 July S/T 32 78
1832 July-1837 Oct./1832 July-1838 July S/T 33 79
1840 Jan.-1843 Feb./1838 July-1843 Feb. S/T 33 80
1843 Jan.-1847 Feb./1843 Feb.-1847 July S/T 33 81
1807 Sep.-1815 Aug./1807 Oct.-1815 Oct. UV/W 34 82
1815 Oct.-1819 July/1815 Dec.-1818 May W 34 83
1819 Aug.-1824 Apr. W 35 84
1824 Apr.-1828 Apr. W 35 85
1828 May-1831 Apr. W 36 86
1832 Apr.-1837 Feb. W 36 87
1837 Feb.-1840 Nov. W 37 88
1840 Sep.-1847 Apr. W 37 89
1847 Apr.-1847 July W 38 90
1818 Aug.-1837 Dec./1809 Jan.-1837 Sep. V/XYZ 38 91