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The role of the courts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 The judiciary Judges (who are together called the judiciary are res!o"si#le $or i"ter!reti"g the law a"d e"suri"g that trials are co"ducted $airly% &he go'er"(e"t ca""ot i"ter$ere with this% )o(eti(es the actio"s o$ the go'er"(e"t are clai(ed to #e illegal% *$ the judges agree+ the" the go'er"(e"t (ust either cha"ge its !olicies or as, -arlia(e"t to cha"ge the law% *$ judges $i"d that a !u#lic #ody is "ot res!ecti"g so(eo"es legal rights+ they ca" order that #ody to cha"ge its !ractices a"d.or !ay co(!e"satio"% Judges also (a,e decisio"s i" dis!utes #etwee" (e(#ers o$ the !u#lic or orga"isatio"s% &hese (ight #e a#out co"tracts+ !ro!erty or e(!loy(e"t rights or a$ter a" accide"t% Criminal courts &here are so(e di$$ere"ces #etwee" the court syste(s i" /"gla"d a"d 0ales+ )cotla"d a"d 1orther" *rela"d% Magistrates and Justice of the Peace Courts *" /"gla"d+ 0ales a"d 1orther" *rela"d+ (ost (i"or cri(i"al cases are dealt with i" a 2agistrates 3ourt% *" )cotla"d+ (i"or cri(i"al o$$e"ces go to a Justice o$ the -eace 3ourt%

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2agistrates a"d Justice o$ the -eace (J-s are (e(#ers o$ the local co((u"ity% *" /"gla"d+ 0ales a"d )cotla"d they usually wor, u"!aid a"d do "ot "eed legal 4uali$icatio"s% &hey recei'e trai"i"g to do the jo# a"d are su!!orted #y a legal ad'iser% 2agistrates decide the 'erdict i" each case that co(es #e$ore the( a"d+ i$ the !erso" is $ou"d guilty+ the se"te"ce that they are gi'e"% *" 1orther" *rela"d+ cases are heard #y a 5istrict Judge or 5e!uty 5istrict Judge+ who is legally 4uali$ied a"d !aid% Crown Courts and Sheriff Courts *" /"gla"d+ 0ales a"d 1orther" *rela"d+ serious o$$e"ces are tried i" $ro"t o$ a judge a"d a jury i" a 3row" 3ourt% *" )cotla"d+ serious cases are heard i" a )heri$$ 3ourt with either a sheri$$ or a sheri$$ with a jury% &he (ost serious cases i" )cotla"d+ such as (urder+ are heard at a 6igh 3ourt with a judge a"d jury% 7 jury is (ade u! o$ (e(#ers o$ the !u#lic chose" at ra"do( $ro( the local electoral register% *" /"gla"d+ 0ales a"d 1orther" *rela"d a jury has 12 (e(#ers a"d i" )cotla"d a jury has 15 (e(#ers% /'eryo"e who is su((o"ed to do jury ser'ice (ust do it u"less they are "ot eligi#le ($or e8a(!le+ #ecause they ha'e a cri(i"al co"'ictio" or they !ro'ide a good reaso" to #e e8cused+ such as ill health%

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&he jury has to liste" to the e'ide"ce !rese"ted at the trial a"d the" decide a 'erdict o$ guilty or "ot guilty #ased o" what they ha'e heard% *" )cotla"d a third 'erdict o$ "ot !ro'e" is also !ossi#le% *$ the jury $i"ds a de$e"da"t guilty+ the judge decides o" the !e"alty% Youth Courts *" /"gla"d+ 0ales a"d 1orther" *rela"d+ i$ a" accused !erso" is aged 10 9 17+ the case is "or(ally heard i" a :outh 3ourt i" $ro"t o$ u! to three s!ecially trai"ed (agistrates or a 5istrict Judge% &he (ost serious cases will go to the 3row" 3ourt% &he !are"ts or carers o$ the you"g !erso" are e8!ected to atte"d the heari"g% 2e(#ers o$ the !u#lic are "ot allowed i" :outh 3ourts+ a"d the "a(e or !hotogra!hs o$ the accused you"g !erso" ca""ot #e !u#lished i" "ews!a!ers or used #y the (edia% *" )cotla"d a syste( called the 3hildre"s 6eari"g )yste( is used to deal with childre" a"d you"g !eo!le who ha'e co((itted a" o$$e"ce% 1orther" *rela"d has a syste( o$ youth co"$ere"ci"g to co"sider how a child should #e dealt with whe" they ha'e co((itted a" o$$e"ce%

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Civil courts County Courts 3ou"ty 3ourts deal with a wide ra"ge o$ ci'il dis!utes% &hese i"clude !eo!le tryi"g to get #ac, (o"ey that is owed to the(+ cases i"'ol'i"g !erso"al i"jury+ $a(ily (atters+ #reaches o$ co"tract+ a"d di'orce% *" )cotla"d (ost o$ these (atters are dealt with i" the )heri$$ 3ourt% 2ore serious ci'il cases 9 $or e8a(!le+ whe" a large a(ou"t o$ co(!e"satio" is #ei"g clai(ed 9 are dealt with i" the 6igh 3ourt i" /"gla"d+ 0ales a"d 1orther" *rela"d% *" )cotla"d they are dealt with i" the 3ourt o$ )essio" i" /di"#urgh% The small claims procedure &he s(all clai(s !rocedure is a" i"$or(al way o$ hel!i"g !eo!le to settle (i"or dis!utes without s!e"di"g a lot o$ ti(e a"d (o"ey usi"g a lawyer% &his !rocedure is used $or clai(s o$ less tha" ;5000 i" /"gla"d a"d 0ales a"d ;3000 i" )cotla"d a"d 1orther" *rela"d% &he heari"g is held i" $ro"t o$ a judge i" a" ordi"ary roo(+ a"d !eo!le $ro( #oth sides o$ the dis!ute sit arou"d a ta#le% )(all clai(s ca" also #e issued o"li"e through 2o"ey 3lai(s <"li"e (www%(o"eyclai(%go'%u, % :ou ca" get details a#out the s(all clai(s !rocedure $ro( your local 3ou"ty 3ourt or )heri$$ 3ourt% 5etails o$ your local court ca" #e $ou"d as $ollows=

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/"gla"d a"d 0ales= at www%go'%u, > )cotla"d= at www%scotcourts%go'%u, > 1orther" *rela"d= at www%courts"i%go'%u,
>

Legal advice Solicitors )olicitors are trai"ed lawyers who gi'e ad'ice o" legal (atters+ ta,e actio" $or their clie"ts a"d re!rese"t their clie"ts i" court% &here are solicitors o$$ices throughout the ?@% *t is i(!orta"t to $i"d out which as!ects o$ law a solicitor s!ecialises i" a"d to chec, that they ha'e the right e8!erie"ce to hel! you with your case% 2a"y ad'ertise i" local "ews!a!ers a"d i" Yellow Pages% &he 3itiAe"s 7d'ice Bureau (www%citiAe"sad'ice%org%u, ca" gi'e you "a(es o$ local solicitors a"d which areas o$ law they s!ecialise i"% :ou ca" also get this i"$or(atio" $ro( the Caw )ociety (www%lawsociety%org%u, i" /"gla"d a"d 0ales+ the Caw )ociety o$ )cotla"d (www%lawscot%org%u, or the Caw )ociety o$ 1orther" *rela"d (www%lawsoc>"i%org % )olicitors charges are usually #ased o" how (uch ti(e they s!e"d o" a case% *t is 'ery i(!orta"t to $i"d out at the start how (uch a case is li,ely to cost%
&his te8t is ta,e" $ro( Ci$e i" the ?"ited @i"gdo(+ a Duide $or 1ew Eeside"ts+ 3rd editio" -age 144 F 3row" 3o!yright 2013

British Council 2014