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A person duly commissioned to hold court, or to decide judgement and administer justice.

This expression (en Francais, lit de justice) literally denoted the seat or throne upon which the King of France was accustomed to sit when personally present in Parliament, and from this original meaning the expression came, in course of time, to signify the Parliament itself.

Under the anicent monarchy of France, a bed of justice denoted a solemn session of the king in authority of the Parliament (being derived entirely from the crown), ceased when the king was present. Consequently, all ordinances enrolled at a bed of justice were acts of the royal will, and of more authority than decisions of Parliament.

The last bed of justice was assembled by Louis XVI at Versailles in 1788, the purpose of which was to force the adoption of taxes unfair to the poor, as proposed by the Assembly of Notables. Subsequent resistance to this measure helped ignite the French Revolution.

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