1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Session

SESSION (through Fr. from Lat. sessia, sedere, to sit), the act of sitting or the state of being seated, more generally the sitting together or assembly of a body, judicial, legislative, &c., for the transaction of its business, and also the time during which the body sits until its adjournment or dispersion. A session of parliament is reckoned from its assembling till prorogation; usually there is one session in each year. In particular the term is applied to the sittings of various judicial courts, especially criminal, such as the sessions of the Central Criminal Court in London. The sittings of the justices of the peace or magistrates in the United Kingdom are “ sessions of the peace ” for the transaction of the judicial business committed to them by statute or by their commission. These are either “ petty sessions,” courts, of summary jurisdiction held by two or more justices of the peace or by a stipendiary or metropolitan police magistrate under statute for the trial of such cases as are not of sufficient import-ance to be tried before quarter-sessions, or for a preliminary inquiry into indictable offences (see Justice of the Peace and Summary Jurisdiction). The “ special sessions ” of the justices are held for licensing purposes, styled “ Brewster sessions,” or for carrying out the provisions of the Highway Acts, &c. The only sessions which are “ general sessions ” of the peace are now “ quarter-sessions ” (q.v.). The supreme court of Scotland is termed the “Court of Session” (see Scotland), and the name is given in the Presbyterian church to the lowest ecclesiastical court, composed of the elders of the church presided over by the minister. In the Established Church of Scotland this is usually styled the “ Kirk-session.”