Among several reforms carried out by Cornwallis, the most prominent one was the Permanent Settlement concerning the revenue.
Cornwallis banned the taking of bribes and presents, stopped private trade carried on by the servants of the Company in the name of their relatives, increased the salaries of the civil servants and appointed only Englishmen to posts of responsibility.
Cornwallis reduced the number of districts from 25 to 23, abolished several posts, deprived collectors of the function of dispensing civil justice and made appointments on merit only.
He entrusted duties concerning trade to trade-board, reduced the number of the members of the board and appointed representatives on commission basis.
Cornwallis established police posts and appointed police sub-inspectors for maintaining law and order.
Lord Cornwallis separated the judiciary from executive, abolished the distinction between civil and revenue courts and established a hierarchy of civil courts, viz., courts of Munsifs, then of the Registrars, then district courts, then four provincial courts, and at the top was the Sardar Diwani Adalat.
For criminal cases, circuit courts in districts and four provincial courts at Patna, Dacca, Murshidabad and Calcutta were established and, at the top was the Sardar Nizamat Adalat.
The civil cases were to be decided according to community laws and the criminal cases on the basis of Muslim laws.
Besides, government officials were held responsible for their actions; powers of pardon was left to the Governor-general-in-Council; and, Cornwallis Code was framed in 1793.
These reforms of Lord Cornwallis were not free from defects but were useful and formed the basis of future reforms.