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Hierarchy of the Courts System

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Darryl Davies

on 2 October 2012

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Transcript of Hierarchy of the Courts System

Know the Hierarchy of the Courts System We will look at the structure of both Civil
and Criminal Courts Outcome General
1. Know the hierarchy of the Court system Outcome Specific:-
1. To demonstrate the court system in
England and Wales
2. To be able to interpret each area of
the courts system in England and Wales Assignment 1

P1:- Outline the Hierarchies of the
Civil and Criminal Courts of England and Wales Here is a simplified diagram of the court system in England and Wales Slightly more detailed Task 1

Your first task is to get some A3 paper
On the A3 paper construct a diagram of hierarchical structure of the court system
Leave room because you will add annotations later. Let's now look at each of the structures in the court system The Civil Courts What are they used for? When a person or organisation has been wronged by another person or organisation.

Usually about getting financial compensation for the wrongdoing. Useful terms:-
Plaintiff - person or orgaisation claiming to be a victim

Sue - to instigate legal proceedings against a person or institution

Defendant - the person or organisation that is accused or being sued credit card payment disputes
landlord-tenant disagreements
breach of contract allegations
compensation for injuries suffered in automobile accidents. Areas covered in the Civil Courts The County Court The County Court typically deals with small claims which are commenced by the claimant putting a ‘summons’ into court. This is a legal document giving details of what is claimed and why. It also deals with divorces, commenced by ‘petition’. Small Claims Court This is part of the County Court
Usually deals with claims of £5,000 or less Dazzler has had dealings with the small claims court County Court a few facts 250 Count Courts in England and Wales
Created in 1846 by the County Courts Act
Deal with low-level civil law matters
Presided over by a circuit judge What does it do? It has jurisdiction over:-
Small claims
Tort (e.g trespass and product liability)
recovery of land
trusts (someone looks after your money)
Inheritance Although the small claims court is part
of the county court it is quick.
Often Courts try to cut down cost by going to
This is when a 3rd party tries to get an 'out of court' settlement between the plaintiff and the defendant High Court It is based at the Royal Courts of Justice
in London It does have 'registries' around England and Wales
Usually found in existing Crown and County Court buildings - means that cases can be heard anywhere without going to London High Court is split into 3 divisions
Queen's Bench
Family Queens Bench consists mainly of claims for damages in respect of:
•personal injury
•breach of contract,
•libel and slander (defamation of character)
•non-payment of a debt, and
•possession of land or property. Chancery The areas of work that it deals with are:
•business and property related disputes
•patents claims
•companies claims
•insolvency claims - can't meet your debts, loans etc
•trust claims - monies that have been put aside for someone.
•probate claims - to do with wills and estate administration Family The Family Division deals with matters such as:-
probate and medical treatment
all cases relating to children's welfare and interest, and exercises an exclusive jurisdiction in wardship cases.

The Family Division is comparatively modern CRIMINAL COURTS
STRUCTURE Supreme Court

Court of Appeal

High Court
Queen's Bench Division)

Crown Court

Magistrates Court......... Youth Court 10-17 year old children
Magistrates sit in a panel of 3
One is usually a woman Youth Court Magistrates Court Deals with criminal cases
WITHOUT a jury What cases will a magistrates
court deal with? 1. 97% of all criminal cases will be heard first here
2. civil family matters (adoption, custody, maintenance)
3. Granting of warrants (e.g search warrant), summonses (request for someone to attend court) and bail applications
4. Granting of licences (e.g sale of alcohol)
5. Summary jurisdiction (responsible for less serious offences
6. Jurisdiction of triable either way offences (offences that may be tried in magistrates or crown court)
7. Commital for trial for indictable offences (serious ones) Magistrates' Courts - bits and pieces 1. There are over 400 magistrates courts in England and Wales.
2. They deal with less serious criminal offences and some civil matters
3. They deal with juveniles (10-17) in the youth court
4. 2 types of magistrate:- Lay justice and district judge
5. Maximum sentencing powers:- 6 months imprisonment and £5,000 fine per offence CROWN COURT Crown Court - a few facts 1. Established 1971 by the Courts Act
2. Replaced Assises and Quarterly sessions
3.Only ONE Crown Court. It is called the CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT or The Old Bailey
4. This one court has about 77 centres in England and Wales Most criminal cases start and end at a magistrates’ court but some have to be sent to the Crown Court.

The Crown Court deals with cases that are serious - like murder or robbery. Crown Court - sentencing and appeals It’s possible you are found guilty in a magistrates’ court but deserve a sentence that’s more than the court can give. If this happens, your case is sent to the Crown Court for sentencing.

If you disagree with a magistrates’ court verdict, you can appeal against the decision in the Crown Court. Crown Court - how trials work The Crown Court is more formal than magistrates’ courts - the judge wears a gown and wig.
The court is open to the public.
The Crown Court includes a jury of 12 members of the public who decide whether you’re guilty or not guilty.
If you’re found guilty, a judge decides what sentence you are given. The Tier System in the Crown Court The Crown Court operates a 3 tier system for its 77 centres in England and Wales Tier 1
Deals with High Court Civil matters including any kind of triable, either way offences, indictable criminal offences or appeals from magistrates' courts Tier 2
Deals with triable either way offences, indictable offences and hears appeals from magistrates courts Tier 3
Deals only with class four offences and appeals The Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal has two divisions:
1. Civil
2. Criminal The Appeals system has the following functions:-
1. To put right any incorrect or unjust decisions made in the courts below them
2. to help promote consisten development of the law
3. to put right if there was some sort of irregularity in the trial process The Supreme Court The Supreme court replaced the House of Lords as the highest court in the Land in 2009.
This was because the House of Lords is part of government.
The Supreme Court is separate from government and ensures the independence of the judiciary. What does it do? It hears appeals from the Court of Appeal
These may be Civil or Criminal Task 2
On your chart add information about the Civil courts
You need to add information about magistrates courts, county court, high court (including Queen's bench, chancery and family divisions)
We will consider the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice later European Court of Justice Has little to do with anything to do with the British Legal System as it only deals with European Law.

It ensures that EU law is applied equally throughout its member states
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