One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Christian Church. In England: the court of a bishop's commissary, dealing with ecclesiastical matters and offences under ecclesiastical law; a consistory court presided over by a commissary. Now historical, except with reference to the consistory court of the Diocese of Canterbury.
2Scottish Law. Originally: any of a number of local courts established in 1563 after the Reformation, dealing with matters of probate, divorce, etc., which were previously under the jurisdiction of a bishop's commissary or diocesan official. Later: a sheriff or county court appointing and confirming the executors of deceased persons leaving personal property in Scotland.
Late 16th century. From commissary + court. Compare earlier commissariat.
commissary court/ˌkɒmɪs(ə)ri ˈkɔːt/
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