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Civil Courts In The Uk

Civil Courts In The Uk

Civil courts in England and Wales

Most cases dealing with claims for less than about £25000 start in the local County Court of which there are 250. Cases are heard by a legally qualified judge. An appeal can be taken from the District Judge to the Circuit Judge. County Court decisions are not binding in other County Court cases but are generally followed unless there is good reason not to.

Cases involving larger sums of money or more important legal points are raised in the High Court. The High Court sits in London and in a few regional centres. It is split into Divisions. For example, the Family Division deals with divorce and child welfare matters and also the administration of wills; the Chancery Division considers complex matters such as disputes about wills, settlements and trusts, bankruptcy, land law, intellectual property and corporate laws; and the Queen's Bench Division deals with the remaining business including disputes about contracts, torts or land. The Queen’s Bench Division has some specialist sub-Divisions, including a Commercial Court which deals with large and complex business disputes.

You can appeal a County Court or High Court decision to the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal on law only. From the Court of Appeal, there can be an appeal to the House of Lords on fact or law but usually if it involves matters of legal importance. It is also possible to bring an appeal from the High Court to the House of Lords but this is rare.

Up to Court of Appeal level, a judge must follow the decisions of all the higher courts above it but need not follow the views of other judges in the same court or a lower court. The Court of Appeal is normally bound by its own previous decisions and those of the House of Lords but can depart from its own decisions in civil cases in some special circumstances.

The House of Lords is not bound by its own previous decisions but will depart from them only rarely.

The Civil Court System

The County Court

This is the lowest tier of the civil court system. The county courts have jurisdiction over recovery of debts and civil actions. In recent years, the High Court has become overloaded and therefore subject to very long delays. The financial limit on the County Court’s jurisdiction has therefore been raised substantially in order for more...

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Category:   Law

Length:   5 pages (1,085 words)

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