This article is from the rec.heraldry FAQ, by Gordon Findlay (email@example.com) and Francois Velde (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
The Court of Chivalry is a leading contender for "flame-bait of the year"
award in rec.heraldry.
In mediaeval times heraldry was strictly regulated, and in England there
was a Court of Chivalry to deal with heraldic jurisdiction. This court
had a chequered history, going into abeyance more than once.
This English Court of Chivalry most recently sat in 1954, after a long
period of disuse. During that judgement (a case of assumption of
another's arms) it was declared that the Court should sit only in very
exceptional circumstances. There have been changes in the English legal
system since 1954 which would make it difficult for the Court to sit
again without legislation. Notwithstanding this, the current (1994)
Somerset Herald and Norroy and Ulster King of Arms have both stated
their opinion that the Court could still sit.
The situation is quite different in Scotland: Lyon Court functions as it