The Court of Chancery existed in New York colony/state from 1683 to 1847. The court possessed jurisdiction in matters of equity rather than law. Equity is a body of doctrine and remedies designed to remove obstructions to justice resulting from the inability of the common-law courts to provide an adequate remedy for every type of grievance or claim. The court held exclusive jurisdiction in matters involving trusteeships, mortgages, mercantile law, women's property rights, and family property settlements.
Among the justices of the Supreme Court of Judicature were such eminent figures as John Jay, James Kent, and Daniel D. Tompkins. Attorneys practicing before the court included Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Martin Van Buren, and William H. Seward. The Court heard some cases which became famous in American legal history: the trial of John Peter Zenger in 1735, the criminal contempt trial of Samuel S. Frear in 1803, the Livingston steamboat cases, and the libel suits brought by James Fenimore Cooper against Thurlow Weed and others.
Supreme Court of Judicature (1691-1847) finding aids
Finding aids provide detailed information about individual record series held by the State Archives. Follow this link to read descriptions of record series that were created by or relate directly to the Supreme Court of Judicature.
"Duly and Constantly Kept": A History of the New York Supreme Court, 1691-1847 and An Inventory of Its Records (Albany, Utica, and Geneva Offices), 1797-1847. Albany: A Joint Publication of the New York State Court of Appeals and The New York State Archives and Records Administration, 1991.
This joint publication of the New York State Court of Appeals and the New York State Archives tells the history of the New York Supreme Court and its predecessors, from colonial times until 1847. It is an essential guide to pre-1847 common-law court records in New York State. The State Archives holds all surviving records kept or filed by the clerks of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Albany (1797-1847), Utica (1807-1847), and Geneva (1829-1847).