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Chapter

Cover English Legal System Concentrate

2. Introduction to Sources of Law and Court Structure  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. This chapter introduces the various sources of law before proceeding onto a discussion of the courts of England and Wales. The courts of England and Wales can be divided into numerous different classifications. There are three different ways that courts may be classified: criminal and civil courts, trial and appellate courts, and superior and inferior courts. In England and Wales, there is often thought to be a stark divide between criminal and civil courts. Criminal courts deal with individuals who have ‘allegedly’ committed a criminal offence and it is the role of the arbiters of fact to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant based on the evidence presented before them. On the other hand, civil courts deal primarily with the resolution of private disputes between individuals. Such disputes can include matters of contract law, personal injury, and family law. However, the jurisdiction of some courts is not limited to one area of law, but rather is approachable for both substantive areas of law.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

13. Pre-Trial Matters  

Alisdair A. Gillespie and Siobhan Weare

This chapter on the criminal justice system focuses on preliminary issues, i.e. 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

Cover The English Legal System

13. Pre-Trial Matters  

This chapter on the criminal justice system focuses on preliminary issues, i.e. 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.

Book

Cover The English Legal System

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

Cover English Legal System

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

Cover The English Legal System

14. Those in Court  

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.

Chapter

Cover The English Legal System

14. Those in Court  

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 then explores how lawyers for the defence are funded under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Chapter

Cover English Legal System

12. The criminal process: Pre-trial and trial  

This chapter explains what happens once a person has been charged with a criminal offence. Whether a case remains in the magistrates’ court or is sent to the Crown Court depends on whether the offence is ‘summary only’, ‘indictable only’, or ‘triable either way’. Summary trial takes place before a district judge or bench of lay justices in the magistrates’ court. Trial on indictment takes place before a jury in the Crown Court. Criminal proceedings are governed by the Criminal Procedure Rules (CrimPR). The overriding objective is to deal with cases justly, including acquitting the innocent and convicting the guilty. The chapter considers those parts of the CrimPR that set out the steps to be taken before a trial in both the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court. It explores key evidential and procedural rules that apply at trial, such as the rule that the prosecution must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Book

Cover English Legal System Concentrate
Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. English Legal Systems Concentrate starts with an introduction to the English legal system (ELS). It then looks at sources of law: domestic legislation, case law, and the effect of EU and international law. The text also examines the court structure. It then looks at personnel of the ELS. It moves on to consider the criminal justice system and the civil justice system. After that, it looks at funding access to the ELS. Finally, it looks to the future of the ELS.

Book

Cover The English Legal System

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.

Chapter

Cover English Legal System

2. An overview of the English legal system  

This chapter provides an introduction to some of the key concepts, themes, and institutions of the English legal system. It offers an overview that 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 know 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.