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The UK Legal System

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The UK Legal System
The Court System
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland consists of four countries
forming three distinct jurisdictions each
having its own court system and legal
profession: England & Wales, Scotland,
and Northern Ireland.
Civil courts
Civil cases at first instance are heard in the County Courts
(for minor claims) or the High Court, which is divided into
three divisions: Queen's Bench, Family and Chancery.
Cases may be appealed to the Court of Appeal (Civil
Division). Cases may be appealed from the County Court to
the High Court.
The House of Lords is the supreme court of appeal. Its
judicial functions are quite separate from its legislative
work, and cases are heard by up to 13 senior judges known
as the Lords of Appeal or Law Lords.
However the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 provides for
the establishment of a Supreme Court to replace the
judicial function of the House of Lords with an independent
appointments system, thereby making a constitutional
separation between the legislature and the judiciary.
Civil courts
A further appellate court, sometimes omitted in a
description of the system, is the Judicial Committee of the
Privy Council, which hears cases from the British overseas
territories and dependencies as well as some specialised
domestic appeals. It also hears cases concerning questions
relating to the powers and functions of the devolved
legislatures. The 'devolution' function will be transferred to
the new Supreme Court.
In addition to the courts there are specialised Tribunals,
which hear appeals on decisions made by various public
bodies and Government departments, in areas such as
employment, immigration, social security, tax and land.
The Court Service also contains information on these.
Civil courts
Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) is an
executive agency of the Ministry of Justice
and is responsible for the administration
of the civil, family and criminal courts in
England and Wales. And it was established
in 2005 under the Courts Act 2003,
bringing together the separate agencies
previously responsible for court
Criminal courts
Criminal cases are heard at first instance
in the Magistrates' Courts, with more
serious ones being heard in the Crown
Court. Appeals are heard in the Court of
Appeal Criminal Division.
? The Constitutional Reform Act 2005
provides for the establishment of a
Supreme Court to replace the House of
Lords as the Court of final appeal.
Types of crimes
Inchoate offenses:
Attempt · Conspiracy · Solicitation
Crimes against people:
Assault · Battery
False imprisonment · Kidnapping
Mayhem · Sexual assault
Homicide Crimes:
Murder · Felony murder
Negligent homicide
Vehicular homicide
Crimes against property:
Arson · Blackmail · Burglary
Embezzlement · Extortion
False pretenses · Larceny
Receiving stolen property
Robbery · Theft
Crimes against justice:
Compounding · Misprision
Obstruction · Perjury
Malfeasance in office
Perverting the course of justice
Barristers vs. Solicitors
The legal profession in Britain is divided
into two branches: barristers and
? Solicitors undertake legal business for
individual and corporate clients, while
barristers advise on legal problems
submitted through solicitors and present
case in the higher courts. Certain
functions are common to both, for
example, the presentation of cases in the
lower courts.
The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey is the most famous Crown Court in
Britain. Its official title is the Central Criminal
It was built on the site of the notorious Newgate
Prison. The old courthouse, built in 1773, was
replaced in 1907 by the present building.
The name ?Old Bailey? is taken from the street
where the court is situated, which is itself named
after an ?old bailey? or former outer castle wall
which once stood there.
Bailey ? двор/стена замка
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