homicide, or does it accidentally, as above.1 Depending upon this his deed will be  either felony or misadventure. There is pecuniary as well as corporal punishment,  but every corporal punishment, though of the slightest, is greater than any  pecuniary one.2
Where civil actions are to be determined.
 3We have indicated above in whose court it is that criminal actions must be  determined, whether in the county or outside it, in the king's court or elsewhere.  Now we must consider where civil actions in rem or in personam are to be determined.  Those in rem, as rei vindicationes by writ of right, must be determined in  the court of the lords or others of whom the demandant claims to hold, if the  lord is willing to do him full right, and is able and4 has the requisite knowledge to  do so. If he is unwilling or unable or without the requisite knowledge, then, after  the tenant has proved that his lord's court has failed to do him right,5 the plea  must be transferred to the county court, that the sheriff may do him right,6 and  in the same way it may be transferred from the county court to the great court,  for specific cause [or] if the king so desires, and there be determined.7 But this  ought not be done against the will of lords, as once used to be done by praecipe,8  except for the causes mentioned above, or if the lord voluntarily remits his court  to the king. On this matter there is more below, [in the portion] on civil actions in  rem on the property by writ of right.9 A plea by writ of right, if it has not been  removed to the great court as was said above, may be determined in the county  court and before the sheriff. 10So may the question of status, as the action de  nativo habendo, unless the person claimed as a villein by excepting alleges that he is  free and that he will prove his freedom before the justices of the lord king on their  arrival. He will then have his peace until they come, or, if it pleases the lord king,  the proof and trial may be transferred to the great court.11 In the county court  and before the sheriff many pleas may be pleaded in which the sheriff is constituted  judge by the writ justicies,12 as in writs of services and customs, of debts, and  innumerable other pleas. Also the plea de vetito namii in which the sheriff is both  judge and sheriff. How such pleas are determined will be explained below.1314Why  cannot the sheriff and the county court determine, as the king's court may, the  question of a man's freedom, as it may that of his villeinage, since proof of liberty  is incidental, so to speak, to the plea of villeinage? I know of no other reason  except that this is a concession made in favour of liberty, a priceless thing,15 not  to be entrusted to the discretion of the unlearned and