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English Legal System

English Legal System (4th edn)

Steve Wilson, Helen Rutherford, Tony Storey, Natalie Wortley, and Birju Kotecha
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date: 30 January 2023

p. 262. An overview of the English legal systemlocked

p. 262. An overview of the English legal systemlocked

  • Steve Wilson, Steve WilsonFormer Principal Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Helen Rutherford, Helen RutherfordSenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Tony Storey, Tony StoreySenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Natalie WortleyNatalie WortleyAssociate Professor, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  •  and Birju KotechaBirju KotechaSenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle


This chapter provides an introduction to some of the key concepts, themes, and institutions of the English legal system. The overview highlights fundamental concepts and principles such as parliamentary supremacy, the rule of law, legislation, the common law, and equity. There is a focus on ensuring you have a firm grasp of terminology and the differences between the criminal law and civil law. The relationship between the English legal system and the European Union (EU) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is also distinguished and explained. In the latter part of the chapter, a summary of the courts, their composition, and their jurisdiction, as well as other legal bodies and personnel in the English legal system, is provided.

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