The Administration of Justice Act

The Administration of Justice Act, passed the same day as the Massachusetts Government Act (May 20, 1774), was designed to improve law and order in the province. In doing so, Parliament employed perhaps the most inflammatory and aggressive language found in any of the Intolerable Acts, even though it and the Quartering Act were intended to be temporary (it would be in force for three years). In it, Parliament claimed that the Bostonians had, in fact, attempted "to throw off the authority of the parliament of Great Britain" with "an actual and avowed resistance, by open force." Being allowed to go "uncontrouled and unpunished, in defiance of his Majesty's authority, and to the subversion of all lawful government" led to "the present disordered state" of Massachusetts Bay.

Its terms were drawn to ensure that Massachusetts' malefactors were adequately punished for their criminal and constitutional transgressions by expressly granting to the governor's discretion, with the consent of the council, the option to send anyone accused of a crime to be tried "in some other of his Majesty's colonies, or in Great Britain." Its other provisions laid out the process the removal of such trials would follow.

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