The Criminal Justice System in Uk: a Study in Brief

Topics: Common law, Law, Scotland Pages: 7 (2324 words) Published: February 5, 2011
The Criminal Justice System of UK

Law of United Kingdom

#The United Kingdom has three legal systems. English law, which applies in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland law, which applies in Northern Ireland, are based on common-law principles. Scots law, which applies in Scotland, is a pluralistic system based on civil-law principles, with common law elements dating back to the High Middle Ages. The Treaty of Union, put into effect by the Acts of Union in 1707, guaranteed the continued existence of a separate law system for Scotland. The Acts of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1800 contained no equivalent provision but preserved the principle of separate courts to be held in Ireland, now Northern Ireland The Appellate Committee of the House of Lords was the highest court in the land for all criminal and civil cases in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and for all civil cases in Scots law, but in October 2009 was replaced by the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. #In England and Wales, the court system is headed by the SC of England and Wales, consisting of the Court of Appeal, the HC of Justice (for civil cases) and the Crown Court (for criminal cases). The Courts of Northern Ireland follow the same pattern. In Scotland the chief courts are the Court of Session, for civil cases, and the High Court of Justiciary, for criminal cases. Sheriff courts have no equivalent outside Scotland as these Courts deal both with criminal and civil caseloads. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth countries, the British overseas territories, and the British Crown dependencies. There are also immigration courts with UK-wide jurisdiction — the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and Special Immigration Appeals Commission. The Employment tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal have jurisdiction throughout Great Britain, but not Northern Ireland.

Three legal systems
There are three distinct legal jurisdictions in the United Kingdom: England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Each has its own legal system

English law
#"English law" is a term of art. It refers to the legal system administered by the courts in England and Wales. The ultimate body of appeal is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. They rule on both civil and criminal matters. English law is renowned as being the mother of the common law. English law can be described as having its own distinct legal doctrine, distinct from civil law legal systems since 1189. There has been no major codification of the law, and judicial precedents are binding as opposed to persuasive. In the early centuries, the justices and judges were responsible for adapting the Writ system to meet everyday needs, applying a mixture of precedent and common sense to build up a body of internally consistent law, e.g., the Law Merchant began in the Pie-Powder Courts see Court of Piepowder (a corruption of the French "pieds-poudrés" or "dusty feet", meaning ad hoc marketplace courts). As Parliament developed in strength, and subject to the doctrine of separation of powers, legislation gradually overtook judicial law making so that, today, judges are only able to innovate in certain very narrowly defined areas. Time before 1189 was defined in 1276 as being time immemorial. After the Acts of Union, in 1707, English law has been one of two legal systems in the same kingdom and has been influenced by Scots law, most notably in the development and integration of the law merchant by Lord Mansfield and in time the development of the law of negligence. Scottish influence may have influenced the abolition of the forms of action in the nineteenth century and extensive procedural reforms in the twentieth.

Courts of England and Wales
Criminal cases
#There are two kinds of criminal trial: 'summary' and 'on indictment'. For an adult, summary trials take place in a magistrates' court, while trials on...
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