Chicheley now became the subject of a leading case, the court of king's bench deciding, of ter arguments reheard in three successive terms, that he could not hold his previous benefices with the bishopric, and that, spite of the maxim Papa potest omnia, a papal bull could not supersede the law of the land (Year-book ii.
He gives several reasons for this in his letter to the king, but in all probability his chief motive was that pointed out by Spedding, that in the court of king's bench there would be less danger of Coke coming into collision with the king on questions of prerogative, in handling which Bacon was always very circumspect and tender.
Thus the court of king's bench (curia regis de banco) was founded, and the foundation of the court of common pleas was provided for in one of the articles of Magna Carta.
In the case of imprisonment on accusation of crime the writ issued from the court of king's bench (or from the chancery), and on its return the court judged of the legality of the imprisonment, and discharged the prisoner or admitted him to bail or remanded him to his former custody according to the result of the examination.
Though the authority of the courts had been strengthened by the Petition of Right and the act of 1640, it was still rendered insufficient by reason of the insecurity of judicial tenure, the fact that only the chancellor (a political as well as a legal officer) and the court of king's bench had undoubted right to issue the writ, and the inability or hesitation of the competent judges to issue the writ except during the legal term, which did not cover more than half the year.
On the 10th of February 1595 he was tried before the court of King's Bench on the charge of treason, and was hanged at Tyburn on the following day.