Тhe court system in the UK


There are some features of the court system, which are naturally reflected in the nature of the English judiciary. First it is hierarchical with judges in the higher courts having more authority than those are in the low corts. Secondly, most judges will hear both civil and criminal cases. Judge in the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal hear only appeal cases, whilst judges in the High Court and , Crown Court have First instance and appellate jurisdiction

THE SUPREME COURT is central to the hierarchical structure of the system of courts in England and Wales. A court created by the Judicature Acts 1873-75. to-take over the jurisdiction of all the higher courts, other then the House of Lords, existing at that time, it doesn't sit as a single court but comprises the High court of Justice, the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court. The Lord Chancellor. who is traditionally the head of the judiciary, is now constituted president of the Supreme Court

The Court of Appeal exercises appellate jurisdiction over all judgments and orders of the High Court and most determinations of judges of the county courts. In some cases the Court of Appeal is the court of last resort. The Court is divided into a Civil Division (presided over by the Master of the Rolls) and a Criminal Division (presided over by the Lord Chief Justice). The criminal division hears criminal appeals and the civil division hears appeals from any judgment or order of the High Court. The Court of Appeal consists of ex-officio judges and not more than eighteen ordinary judges. The ordinary judges of the Court are the Lords Justices of Appeal, but puisne judges may also sit by invitation and frequently do so, especially in the Criminal Division. The word "puisne" means junior or lower in rank.

The High Court of Justice is divided into three divisions:  the Queen's Bench division, Chancery division, and Family division. To the Chancery Division are assigned all cases and matters relaiting to land, morgages, bankruptcy, patents, trade-marks, the appointment of a guardian and so on. To the Queen's Bench Division are assigned applications for 'writs of habeas corpus and for judicate review. To the Family Division are assigned all matrimonial causes and matters. The High Court is one court. Any order or judgement emanating from any of the divisions is an order or judgement of the High Court and should not be regarded as an order or judgement of any particular division. The Patents, Admiralty and Commercial Courts are the three specialist courts, which lake their place within the divisions of the High Court. The Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, the President of the Family Division, the Vice-Chancellor and not more than eighty puisne judges of the High Court exercise the High Court's jurisdictions.

The Crown Court has an unlimited jurisdiction over all criminal cases tried on indictment and also acts as a court for the hearing of appeals from magistrates courts. The jurisdiction of the Crown Court is exercisable by any judge of the High court or any Circuit judge or recorder.

The House of Lords is the final court of appeal in the UK in both civil and criminal cases, although it refers some cases to the European Court of Justice for a ruling. This court consists of legally qualified life peers, styled 'Lords of Appeal in Ordinary*, who are appointed by Her Majesty the Queen. Lord Chancellor is the head of the judiciary. He is entitled to preside over the House when it sits as a final court of appeal; he appoints magistrates, makes recommendations for higher judicial appointments, and oversees such matters as the administration of the courts, legal aid, and law reform. He is appointed by the Crown on the advice of the Prime Minister

The House of Lords has an ancient jurisdiction with regard to impeachments and dimes peerage. Most cases coming before the House of Lords in recent times are appeals from the civil division of the Court of Appeal, and most of these involve a dispute as to the construction of a statute. A procedure by which appeals from the High Court would lie to the House of Lords is known as the 'leap frog', because the Court of Appeal is not involved. An application to the House ofLords(for such) an appeal to be heard, can be made only if the trial judge certifies as follows on the application of any party, that all parties consent to the procedure, that a sufficient case for appeal to the House of Lords has been made out, that a point of law of general public importance is involved. There are County Courts and Magistrates Courts at bottom of this structure of the system of courts.

A County Court is a court of record. A County Court is held in each district. The Lord Chancellor assigns one or more circuit judges to each district. A County court has jurisdiction in actions founded in contract or tort where the debt, demand or damage claimed, doesn't exceed the County Court limit. County Courts have jurisdiction in actions for me recovery of land where the net annual value for rating of the land doesn't exceeed the County Court limit. The County court also has jurisdiction in probate proceedings where the estate of the deceased is less then the County Court limit

Magistrates Courts means any justice or justices of the peace acting under any enactment or by virtue of his or their commission or under the common law. Courts consist of between two and seven magistrates or a single stipendiary magistrate. Stipendiary magistrates sit alone and have the same powers at two justices of the peace sitting together; Justices of the peace are not required to have any legal qualification unlike stipendiary magistrates and the clerk to the magistrates. Magistrates' Courts are appointed to a particular area. The jurisdiction of Magistrates Courts is both criminal and civil. Magistrates' Courts are courts of summary jurisdiction for minor offences. Certain offences are triable only summarily, while others are triable either way. i.e. summarily or by indictment in the Crown Court Magistrates' Courts have jurisdiction to hear and decide complaints. It also has a limited jurisdiction in civil matters relating to debt and matrimonial proceedings.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council consists of the Lord President of the Council, the Lord Chancellor, ex-Lord Presidents, the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary and those members of the Privy Council who hold high judicial office. The Privy Council is the Sovereign in Council and, therefore, the jurisdiction is in the form of Advice tendered to the Sovereign, which is then impSemenifJ by an Order in Council. Appeals lies from the Supreme Courts of all the British colonies The European Court consists of thirteen judges and five Advocates-Generals. The European Court has jurisdiction to deal with cases arising between Member States and institutions of the Community.

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