(1552—1634) lawyer, legal writer, and politician
English lawyer and politician. He rose to the position of Lord Chief Justice (1613), prosecuting such defendants as Essex (1601) and the Gunpowder Plot conspirators (1606). In 1616 James I dismissed him, since, at first a supporter of the royal prerogative, Coke had become a defender of the common law against church and crown: as a Member of Parliament he led opposition to James I and Charles I. He was largely responsible for drafting the Petition of Right (1628) and wrote commentaries on medieval and contemporary English law.