PLEAS OF THE CROWN, Eng. law. This phrase is now employed to signify criminal causes in which the king is a party. Formerly it signified royal causes for offences of a greater magnitude than mere misdemeanors. These were left to be tried in the courts of the barons, whereas the greater offences, or royal causes, were to be tried in the king's courts, under the appellation of pleas of the crown. Robertson's Hist. of Charles V., vol. 1, p. 48.