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Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter discusses the organization of the modern court structure and what each court does. The courts in England and Wales (ie excluding the Supreme Court which is a UK court) are administered by a single agency, HM Courts and Tribunal Service. The courts of original jurisdiction (ie which hear trials of first instance) are ordinarily the magistrates’ court, county court, Crown Court, and High Court although they have now been joined by the Family Court. The Crown Court and High Court have both an original and appellate jurisdiction. The High Court is divided into three divisions (Queen’s Bench Division, Chancery Division, and Family Division) and when two or more judges sit together in the High Court it is known as a Divisional Court. The chapter also briefly describes the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Court of Protection, and Coroner’s Courts.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the civil and commercial justice systems. It considers the purpose of the civil justice system and also covers the use of alternative dispute resolution and the incentives to keep disputes out of the court. It looks at the court structure, the county court, the High Court, the newly created Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, and other courts and offices. It considers possible changes that may follow the courts and tribunals transformation project. It also considers routes of appeal and the work of the appeal courts.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter focuses on the people who are present during criminal trials. It considers those in summary trials in magistrates’ court (magistrates, justices’ clerks/legal advisers, lawyers, and the defendant). It also considers those who are present in the Crown Court during a trial on indictment (the judge, the jury, lawyers, court clerks, the stenographer, the usher, and the defendant). The chapter also explores how lawyers for the defence are funded under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter examines the trial process and identifies the differences between summary trials and trials on indictment. It details who is in court, what their role should be, and how they reach their various decisions. The discussions cover the prosecution case, the defence case, closing speeches, judicial summing up, reaching the verdict, and youth trials.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter discusses the remedies that can be sought from the civil courts and how an appeal is made against a decision. It covers interim and final remedies; route of appeals; leave; the hearing; appeals to the Supreme Court; and examples of appeals. There are many different types of remedies that a court can award to a successful litigant. The most common form of remedy is that which is known as ‘damages’. Appeals in the civil courts follow a slightly more complicated structure than in criminal cases. In order to appeal in the civil cases it is usually necessary to seek permission before proceeding with a civil appeal. Save where it is a final decision in a multi-track case, the usual rule is that the appeal will be heard by the next most senior judge.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter on the criminal justice system focuses on preliminary issues, ie some of the issues that take place before trial begins. A prosecution begins at the earliest stage through a defendant being charged by the police but under the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS must then review the decision to prosecute, which requires the CPS to have reference to two prosecution tests (evidential and public interest tests). The CPS has the ability to issue out of court disposals in appropriate cases as alternatives to prosecution. If a prosecution does take place it is necessary to identify in which court the proceedings will be heard. Crimes are divided into three categories: summary, indictable-only, and either-way. Criminal matters are heard in the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court and the categorization of offences has an impact on where the matter should be heard.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter discusses the organization of the modern court structure and what each court does. The courts in England and Wales (i.e. excluding the Supreme Court which is a UK court) are administered by a single agency, HM Courts and Tribunal Service. The courts of original jurisdiction (i.e. which hear trials of first instance) are ordinarily the magistrates’ court, county court, Crown Court, and High Court although they have now been joined by the Family Court. The Crown Court and High Court have both an original and appellate jurisdiction. The High Court is divided into three divisions (Queen’s Bench Division, Chancery Division, and Family Division) and when two or more judges sit together in the High Court it is known as a Divisional Court. The chapter also briefly describes the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Court of Protection, and Coroner’s Courts.

Chapter

This chapter considers how law is made in the UK, who makes it, and the constitutional principles which give them the authority for making it and imposing it on society. There is a detailed account of the legislative procedure of the UK Parliament, and the different types of legislation enacted by Parliament. The role of the senior courts in the development of legal principle is also considered. Finally, the law-making functions of key institutions of the European Union and the Council of Europe are considered. The impact of Brexit is also considered.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter considers the conduct of civil litigation. It discusses how civil litigation is more managed than criminal litigation and the courts seek to assist litigants in finding a compromise. The civil courts have extensive powers over costs and they use this to ensure compliance with their rulings and also to encourage early settlement, reducing the need for litigation. The chapter examines three types of civil litigation; cases relating to the small claims track (‘small claims court’), judicial review, and private family-law disputes.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter provides an introduction to the courts and tribunals judiciary. It discusses the judicial office, judicial appointments, judicial diversity, and judicial training. There are different levels of judges within the courts and tribunals, with the senior judiciary comprising the Lord Chief Justice and Heads of Division. The Lord Chief Justice is the Head of the Judiciary. The Head of the Tribunals is the Senior President of the Tribunals. There are also part-time members of the judiciary known either as district judges, recorders, or Deputy High Court Judges depending on which court they sit in. This chapter assesses the similarities and differences between the court judiciary and tribunal judiciary. The quasi-judicial role of magistrates is also considered in this chapter. Discussing them in this chapter allows for their role to be considered and contrasted with that of district judges (magistrates’ courts) who also sit within the magistrates’ court.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter continues the discussion of sources of domestic law, focusing on material produced by the courts through cases. It covers the reporting of cases, the hierarchy of courts, legal principles, and the operation of precedent. The courts operate a system of precedent known as stare decisis (‘let the decision stand’). The type of precedent set depends on the court sitting, with the most complicated rules occurring in the Court of Appeal. As a general rule of thumb, the court setting the precedent will bind every court below it but the real question is under what circumstances that court is bound by itself.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on administrative justice. It reflects on the nature of administrative law and the role it plays in modern society, overseeing the relationship between the citizen and the state. Again adopting the holisitic approach, the chapter discusses not only the role of the courts, but also the tribunals, ombudsmen, and other bodies and processes that together make up the institutional framework of administrative justice. It notes some of the key changes being introduced as a result of the current transformation programme. It also considers the particular responsibilities of Members of Parliament in holding government to account. In addition, it asks who has general oversight of the system and whether current oversight arrangements are adequate.

Book

Alisdair Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

The English Legal System presents the main areas of the legal system and encourages a critique of the wider aspects of how law is made and reformed. The book is structured in five parts. Part I looks at the sources of law including domestic and international sources. Part II looks at the courts and the practitioners. It considers the structure of the courts and tribunals, judges and judicial independence, the legal professions, and legal aid. Part III examines the criminal justice system. It describes issues related to lay justice, trials, and criminal appeals. The next part is about the civil justice system. It looks at civil litigation, remedies, appeals and alternative dispute resolution, as well as the funding of civil litigation. The final part looks to the future.

Book

Helen Rutherford, Birju Kotecha, and Angela Macfarlane

English Legal System provides understanding of the operation of the legal system which is essential to the laying of a solid foundation on which to build further legal study. After offering practical advice on how to study the English Legal System, there is an overview of the nature of law, the sources of law, how the English legal system operates, the courts of England and Wales, and some of the important institutions and personnel of the law. How legislation is made and how it is interpreted is discussed. How judges make law and how this process is governed by the doctrine of judicial precedent are explored. The legal precedent set by a case the ratio decidendi, and other statements of law, obiter dicta, are explained. The book considers the impact of membership of the European Union (EU), being a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and Brexit. The institutions and personnel of the law: juries, judges, and lawyers are covered. The criminal process, from arrest to trial, to sentencing, is explained and analysed. Resolution of disputes through the civil courts and tribunals is explained, as is the civil process. Alternative methods of dispute resolution are considered.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the civil and commercial justice systems. It considers the purpose of the civil justice system and also covers the use of alternative dispute resolution and the incentives to keep disputes out of the court. It looks at the court structure, the county court, the High Court, the newly created Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, and other courts and offices. It considers possible changes that may result from the Transformation programme and the civil and commercial justice systems’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also considers routes of appeal and the work of the appeal courts.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter discusses international sources of law. Conventions and treaties are the primary sources of international law. International law also relies on custom, that is to say informal rules that have been commonly agreed over a period of time. The United Kingdom joined the (then) European Economic Community (EEC) in 1972. As part of the conditions for joining, the UK agreed that EEC (now EU) law would become automatically part of the law of the United Kingdom. The principal treaties governing the EU are the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of European Union. Disputes are adjudicated by the Court of Justice of the European Union. Although the UK voted to leave the EU, it is not known when this will happen, meaning EU law will remain part of UK law for the time being.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on how legal services, in particular litigation, to the less well-off and the poor are paid for. It considers first the radically changed shape of legal aid and publicly funded legal services. It discusses developments designed to control the costs of litigation. It summarizes new ideas that have been developing for the funding of litigation and improving access to justice. Finally it asks whether other processes—alternatives to courts—might be better at providing cost effective and proportionate dispute resolution services.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the family justice system. It considers the role law plays in regulating the family. The chapter covers the institutional framework of family justice and its transformation. It notes the creation of the Family Court and the pressures on that court. It reviews the remedies which are available in that court, in particular those relating to the protection of children. The chapter briefly considers adoption. It considers other matrimonial matters, in particular the financial effects of divorce. It considers policy relating to child support, and notes changes to ways of dealing with domestic violence. It considers the legal practitioners involved in family law issues and how they seek to deal with family disputes on a less adversarial basis. The effect of changes to legal aid for funding for family law cases is discussed.

Chapter

This chapter is a general introduction to civil litigation and the civil courts. It describes the process by which a civil claim is dealt with in the County Court or in the High Court. It provides an overview of the major case management powers possessed by the civil courts and discusses how these powers must be exercised to further the overriding objective of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (as amended) to deal with matters justly and at proportionate cost. A brief history of the development of the civil court rules is included and the Woolf and Jackson Reports are discussed. Some of the basic principles of civil evidence are discusses and the methods of enforcement of civil judgments are set out.

Chapter

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter focuses on the people who are present during criminal trials. It considers those in summary trials in magistrates’ court (magistrates, justices’ clerks/legal advisors, lawyers, and the defendant). It also considers those who are present in the Crown Court during a trial on indictment (the judge, the jury, lawyers, court clerks, the stenographer, the usher, and the defendant). The chapter also explores how lawyers for the defence are funded under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.