LAW AND ORDER The present British legal system forms the basis of the Judiciary – the third branch of the government – and comprises three separate systems – that for England and Wales, that for Scotland and that for Northern Ireland. They differ somewhat from each other in terms of procedure, courts and the legal professions. Generally, however, Scottish and Northern Irish laws are in line with those of England and Wales, and the majority of Westminster legislation is applicable to Britain as a whole. Thus, here we shall be mainly concerned with the common legal system in England and Wales, the English part of which has evolved over many centuries. Sources of Law The first thing to notice is that there is no civil code and no criminal code in England. The law as a whole consists partly of statutes, or Acts of Parliament, and partly of common law.
Common law was originally based on medieval customs and conventions and established by the Norman kings. As Britain developed its trading power, mercantile and other forms of commercial law emerged. Later changes, such as population growth and increasing social and economic complexity necessitated more courts and their further specialization. It has recently become customary to single out three main sources of contemporary English law: statute law, common law and European law. Statutes (largely relating to criminal justice), which have been created by Acts of Parliament after the usual passing of bills through Parliament and the Royal Assent, are the ultimate source of law. There are no legal limits on what may be done by Acts of Parliament: Parliament as the supreme legislative body creates new laws, it can repeal an Act, wholly or partly, replacing it with new provisions.
... the buyers beware. This maxim is applicable in common law when the buyer exercises his/her own judgement ... . It need not be in formal or legal language and in fact any writing embodying the ... by various acts. Trade Practices Act v Sale of Goods Act: The Commonwealth Trade Practices Act 1974 s69- ... are commonly supplied. The Commonwealth Trade Practices Act 1974 s75A provides that a consumer is entitled ...
Some Acts create a new law, while others consolidate the law by drawing together existing law on a given topic. Acts of Parliament are supreme over all other forms of law except for some European Union law. Common law (unwritten law or case law), the ancient law of the land, is the outcome of the past decisions and practices based upon custom and reason. These successive court decisions built up over the years formed precedents from which later judges could deduce the basic principles that were to be applied to new cases. The doctrine of precedent is strong in English law, and means that the decisions of higher courts bind the judges of lower courts, who are obliged to follow it. TASK 1.
Answer the following questions. 1. What does the law consist of in England 2. What is the origin of Common Law 3. What is Common Law 4.
What necessitated more courts 5. What are three main sources of contemporary English law 6. What is the doctrine of precedent TASK 2. Read the text and make a synopsis of it in English.
, . , … , , -, , , X. TASK 3. Complete the following sentences.
1. The third branch of the British government is… 2. The Judiciary comprises three… 3. Common Law was originally based on…
4. The precedent is… TASK 4. What words are given definitions to Choose them from the list below. – the body of rules with authority to govern the actions and relations of people in an organized political community or among States – a collective term for all judges: in the UK, the Sovereign is head of the… – a person with authority to hear and decide disputes brought before a court for decision – all or part of a country’s written law, statute law; also the process of making written law legislation; law; judge; judiciary European Community law has become the latest element in English law because of Britain’s membership in the EU since 1973.
It derives from the EC treaties, from the Community legislation adopted under such treaties, and from the decisions of the European Court of Justice. That court has the ultimate authority to decide points of Common Law. Who’s who in the law If you are prosecuted for a crime in Britain, you may meet the following people during your process through courts: Magistrates Magistrates are unpaid judges, usually chosen from well-respected people in the local community. They are not legally qualified.
... observe a proceeding in the King County Superior Court where the judge’s name was Shaffer Catherine. I did ... merit the attention of the judge and jury. To be brought to court which could put one’s life ... good reason that perhaps justice is served upon the accused or defendant. The fact the lawyer also mentioned ... you could still be made to answer in the court of law. Mr. Bell was found by police to ...
They are guided on points of law by an official, the clerk. There are magistrates’ courts in most towns. Solicitors After the accused person has been arrested, the first person he or she needs to see is a solicitor. Solicitors are qualified lawyers who advise the accused and help prepare the defence case. The solicitor may represent the accused in court.
A person who is too poor to afford a solicitor will usually get Legal Aid – financial help from the state. Barristers In more serious cases, or where there are special legal difficulties, it is usual for the solicitor to hire a barrister to defend the accused. The barrister is trained in the law and in the skills required to argue a case in court. The barrister for the defence will be confronted by his or her opposite number, the prosecuting barrister, who represents the state. Legal Aid is available to pay for defence barristers. Jurors A jury consists of twelve men and women from the local community.
They sit in the Crown court, with a judge, and listen to witnesses for the defence and prosecution before deciding whether the accused is guilty or innocent. In Britain a person is innocent unless found guilty: the prosecution has the burden of establishing guilt. Judges Judges are trained lawyers, nearly always ex-barristers, who sit in the Crown court (and appeal courts).
The judge rules on points of law, and makes sure that the trial is conducted properly.
He or she does not decide on the guilt or innocence of the accused – that is the jury’s job. However, if the jury finds the accused guilty, then the judge will pass sentence. What do solicitors do There are solicitors’ offices in every town of England and Wales. They are the first point of contact for the public when looking for legal advice, including work often performed by notaries in other countries, for instance, transfer of real property, drawing up contracts, and handling successions. Solicitors in general practice serve the local community, solving the legal problems of the public. They are not, however, tied to any particular court: a solicitor can act throughout England and Wales.
... is ineffective Based on Contra Proferentem Rule, courts interpret terms that purport to exclude or ... •There is a clearly assumption that a legal relationship would exist between plaintiff and defendant; ... negligence to plaintiff Contributory negligence applies to cases where a plaintiff has, through his own ... mislead or deceive is prohibited in the law. This prohibition provides consumer protection to ...
The formalities involved in real property transfer and succession form a significant share of the work of solicitors in general practice. Solicitors also pursue claims arising from personal injuries, or may be called upon to advise or plead in court on their client’s behalf in criminal cases. Family law is a significant area of work: solicitors often appear as advocates in matrimonial cases. They make wills and administer estates of people who have died.
Solicitors advise businesses on such issues as employment, contracts, company formations and competition policy. Vocabulary to look for (legal advice) – to try to find; to expect notary – an official authorized to certify or attest documents to not arise – to certify or attest the documents as a notary transfers of property – making over property to another person to pursue claims – to assert the client’s rights to smith personal injury – damage done to a person’s body matrimonial cases – cases concerning marriage or married people will – a legal document directing the disposal of one’s property after death to administer estates – to administer property, possessions issue – a point under dispute competition policy – rivalry, argue mortgage – a special type of loan Training of solicitors The training of solicitors is stringent. Most solicitors are law graduates, although some are qualified in other disciplines, which the Law Society considers equivalent in academic rigour. Those who have graduated in other subjects are obliged to take the Common Professional Examination (CPE), a one year conversion course at Law school or at one of the universities which aims to instill in them the principles of law. Here they will study the 6 core elements of English law, namely: contract law, land law, criminal law, tort, trust law, and constitutional law.
Both law graduates and CPE finalists must complete a further course equivalent to a year’s full-time study, the Law Society’s Legal Practice Course (LPC).
... case in court. On the other hand, a solicitor is a legal professional who generally gives you legal advice and appoint a barrister for you. A solicitor ... . A legal practitioner in Malaysia does the work done by both barristers and solicitors. Barristers and solicitors are both ... law is common to both professions, there are considerable differences between the work done by a solicitor and a barrister ...
At the end of the year students must pass examinations in 4 compulsory substantive law subjects. Having passed the Law Society’s final examinations, prospective solicitors enter a two-year training period with firms of solicitors, gaining practical experience in variety of areas of law. The training of solicitors is supervised at all stages by the Law Society. The system is designed to ensure that a trainee receives a broad education in all aspects of practice. REVISION TASK 1.
Answer the following question and discuss them in small groups. 1. What education do most solicitors have 2. What is the difference in training of law graduates and those qualified in other subjects 3.
What is the aim of one-year course for graduates in other subjects 4. Who are the Law Society’s final examinations meant for 5. What aspects of solicitors’ practice does a further one year course emphasize 6. What is the aim of two-year training period with firms of solicitors TASK 2. Read the text and render it in English. , .
– 6: 7, . Barristers – who are they There are 9, 000 practising barristers in England and Wales. Barristers are legal consultants offering special services, in particular as advocates or advisors in matters involving litigation. They are known collectively as the bar. Although most advocacy is undertaken by solicitors, barristers are often instructed to conduct a case because of their expertise and experience in pleading before the courts. Formerly only barristers were allowed to appear as advocates in some courts, but recent legislation has removed this monopoly and solicitors are now acquiring rights of audience in the higher as well as lower courts.
Solicitors often seek the advice of barristers even when no appearance in court is anticipated, due to their detailed knowledge of case law. Practising barristers are all self-employed, although they share offices, which are called chambers. Due to the nature of barristers’ work the chambers are only to be found near to the major courts. In general, a barrister has no direct contact with the client, only through the instructing solicitor.
The solicitor will choose the barrister best suited to the needs of the client. Barristers can, however, accept instructions directly from foreign lawyers or clients, if no litigation before an English court is in progress or anticipated (in which case a barrister will only accept instructions from a solicitor).
... litigants. After the case of? Brind? courts have easily declined to apply proportionality so freely. Significant 90? s case law has denied proportionality ... a general perspective, it has been found in English case law that perhaps judges are not well equipped by training or ... nature. Although there has been a lot of European philosophical case law, I think we overlook the point that proportionality is ...
To instruct a barrister a client should contact the barrister’s clerk, who acts as manager for a set of chambers. Within the ranks of barristers there is a further division between Queen’s (or King’s) Counsel and junior counsel.
The former, also known as “silks” because of the material of their robes, comprise roughly 10% of all barristers. They are chosen by the Lord Chancellor, the nation’s highest legal official, for their legal ability and their reputation. The establishment of the reputation usually takes 15 or 20 years. This designation permits to add the letters QC after the name.
The Queen’s Counsels not only argue the most important cases, sometimes assisted by junior counsel, but also form the pool from which British judges are selected. TASK 1. Answer the following questions. 1. Is the size of the barristers’ profession large in comparison with that of solicitors 2. What kinds of services do barristers offer 3.
Do most barristers work privately or are they employed 4. What are the rules of hiring barristers 5. What are Queen’s counsels How many barristers become QC Training of Barristers. Inns of Court. The training of barristers is supervised by the four Inns of Court – Gray’ Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, the Middle Temple and the Inner Temple.
The Inns of Court are institutions which for centuries have had a special place in the English legal structure. The proper title of each Inn is ‘The Honourable Society of… .’ . They are voluntary societies, bound by the same rules and founded upon similar constitutions. Although the four Inns are equal in rank and status, they nevertheless retain their own traditions and customs.
The oldest is the Inner Temple, which has produced the largest number of judges. To become a barrister, a candidate must join one of them and study for 12 terms. The Inns require students to satisfy certain formal requirements – to attend 6 evenings during the term for the purpose of dining in the Hall. The Inns jointly conduct the bar examinations.
They separately “call to the Bar”, or admit to practice, individuals who have passed the examinations. Although the Inns provide a semblance of legal education in the form of lectures, many applicants now receive their legal education at universities. After admission to the bar and a short period of apprenticeship, a barrister must practise on his own. There are no firms of barristers, each individual is economically independent. While barristers may have common chambers, in order to share the expenses of a library or a clerk, they do not share the work brought to them. This means that aspiring young barrister must not only be able to finance his legal education and a period of apprenticeship, but also must be able to support himself during those first few years of practice when little business comes his way.
... the Criminal Procedure Act 1986. It became obvious that they were short staffed and without a court clerk when the magistrate ... the larger courtrooms with more facilities combined with the barristers and magistrates wearing their wig and robes seemed to instantly ... triviality of the process. Cases involving minor offences such as traffic offences and petty theft were particularly trivial however other ...
TASK 1. Answer the following questions. 1. What are the two patterns to become a barrister 2. What sort of institutions are the Inns of Court 3. What traditional requirements should a prospective barrister satisfy in order to be called to the Bar 4.
How would you characterize the professional education which the Inns of Court provide 5. Can barristers practice on their own immediately after admission to the Bar… TASK 2. Try to cover the following points in your oral presentation. Use the texts above. the patterns to become a barrister the Inns of Court the evolution of legal education the distinguished students of the Bar TASK 3.
Fill in the blanks with words and expressions below. The senior branch of the legal profession in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is a… There are over 9, 000… , who have the right to fight a… (Crown… and the High…
) in England and Wales… Barristers belong to… Which is an ancient legal institution and which is controlled by… There are also the four legal societies or…
In London. The four… , law colleges, date from the middle ages and have maintained their autonomy and privileges, and been more resistant to attempts at reform than any other British… Barristers have two main functions: first, to give specialized… on legal matters and, secondly, to act as… in the higher courts.
Most sections of the general public cannot approach a barrister directly, but must be introduced by a… advocates; institution; advice; Inns of Court; barristers; solicitor; courts; the Bar Council; the Bar; case Courts and crimes All criminal cases start in the magistrates’ courts. The minor cases stay there, with the magistrates deciding on guilt or innocence and then sentencing the criminal. Serious cases are referred by the magistrates to the Crown court – this is called “committal.” In committals, all the magistrates do is hear the outline evidence and decide whether there is a case to answer. Crown court judges have power to sentence more heavily than magistrates.
On committal the accused is either released (“bailed”) by magistrates, or – if the police think there is a danger he might disappear or threaten prosecution witnesses – held in prison until the trial. Whether the case is committal to the Crown court depends on the seriousness of the crime. The most minor crimes, such as most motoring offences, are known as summary offences, and they are always dealt with by magistrates. The most serious crimes as murder and armed robbery are called indictable offences, and are always committed to the Crown court. There are many crimes known as “either way” offences, which, as the name implies, may be tried by magistrates or in the Crown court. Sometimes the decision is up to the accused himself, but he should listen carefully to the advice of his lawyer: he may decide that he stand a better chance of being acquitted by a sympathetic jury than by a panel of stern magistrates, but he runs the risk of a higher sentence from a Crown court judge if the jury do find him guilty.
Sentencing The most common sentences are fines, prison and probation. Probation is used often with more minor offences. A person on probation must report to a local police station at regular intervals, which restricts his or her movement. Magistrates and judges may also pass suspended sentences, in which case the person will not serve the sentence unless he or she commits another crime, when it will be implemented without more ado. A sentence of community service means that the convicted person has to spend several hours a week doing useful work in his locality. Appealing People who have been convicted can appeal if their lawyer can either show that the trial was wrongly conducted or produce new evidence.
Appeal can also be made against the severity of a sentence. Appeals from a magistrates’ court is to the Crown court and then up through the courts system to the Judicial Chamber of the House of Lords, the highest court in the land. From there, appeal is to the European Court of Justice. A few more facts – Children under 10 cannot be charged with a criminal offence. – Offenders between 10 and 17 are tried by special juvenile courts. – The death penalty technically still exists in Britain for some obscure offences, such as treason, but is no longer used.
– The punishment for murder is a life sentence. This can be much less than a lifetime in prison, depending on factors such as good behaviour. – The most common punishment for crimes – 80 per cent of the total is a fine. TASK 1. Now, are these statements true or false 1. Juries sit in magistrates’ courts.
2. The state helps poorer suspects to pay for their defence. 3. All accused people have to appear before magistrates.
4. Magistrates try a person accused of murder. 5. Crown court judges can hand out stiffer sentences than magistrates. TASK 2.
Finish the sentences. Look through the texts above. 1. Sentences may be different: … 2.
Appeals can be made if… 3. All criminal cases start in… 4. Whether the case is committal to the Crown court depends on… 5.
‘Either way’ offences are… 6. Committal is… TASK 3. What words are given definitions to Choose them from the list below.
– an illegal act or omission punishable under criminal law. – specific number of people (usually six or twelve), selected as prescribed by law to render a decision (verdict) in a trial. – person who testifies under oath before a court or in a deposition regarding what was seen, heard or otherwise observed. – a qualified lawyer who advises clients, represents them in the lower courts, and prepares cases for barristers to try in higher courts. – to charge with an offence, crime; to blame.
– a sum payable as punishment for an offence. solicitor; fine; to accuse; witness; jury; offence CRIMINAL AND civil law The aim of the domestic legal system is both to control unlawful activities against citizens and the state, and to serve citizens in a variety of ways. Hence there are two main branches of law in the United Kingdom – criminal law and civil law. Criminal law is concerned with acts punishable by the state, in other words, the primary object of criminal law is to protect society by punishing those who are considered to have broken the law and done something wrong to society in general. The trial and the punishment are supposed to act as deterrents to potential offenders, as well as to state society’s attitudes on a wide range of matters. Civil law covers disputes (about the rights, duties and obligations) between two or more parties – individuals, companies or other organizations.
The purpose of English civil law is not to punish, but to establish harmony or obtain compensation or some other remedy. One party (plaintiff) will initiate a civil action against another individual or organization (defendant).
The disputes may be settled during the course of negotiations or litigation or eventually by a judge or registrar after a full trial of the facts. The distinction between civil and criminal matters is not precise. Courts may be classified as criminal courts and civil courts, but in England and Wales and Northern Ireland magistrates’ courts have both a civil and criminal jurisdiction. However the court of trial and the rules of procedure and evidence will usually differ in civil and criminal cases.
Criminal and Civil Courts The court system reflects the existing aspects of the law and comprises, accordingly, two types of courts: criminal courts and civil courts. Criminal courts The criminal court structure in England and Wales was created by the Courts Act of 1971 and comprises two levels of criminal courts. The lower court (or court of first instance) is the magistrates’ court, which deals with summary – the less serious – offences: the vast majority of criminal cases, and conducts preliminary investigation into the more serious offences. These more serious – indictable – offences are mostly tried by the higher court – the Crown court. Magistrates’ Courts Magistrates’ courts are local courts; counties are divided into divisions serving rural and urban areas, each having its own court.
Magistrates’ courts are sometimes called ‘courts of summary jurisdiction’ or ‘petty sessions’, or police courts’. There are about 700 magistrates’ courts in England and Wales, which are open to the public and the media. They usually consist of three to seven lay magistrates – known as Justices of the Peace (JPs).
The JPs are ordinary but worthy citizens who have been appointed to their positions by the Lord Chancellor on the advice of local appointing committees. JPs have no formal qualifications; they are chosen merely for their good reputation, often with the support of political parties or approved voluntary bodies. JPs hear cases without a jury, receive no salary for their services (only expenses).
On appointment they are obliged to attend court as observers before actually taking their seats on the bench, and they are expected to attend courses of instruction about their work. There are some 30, 000 JPs (1999) throughout England and Wales, each of them works in the court about 30-50 days a year. In Central London and some other big cities there are also stipendiary magistrates. These are trained lawyers who work full time and are paid salaries.
They are mainly used in large cities to reduce the heavy workloads of the magistrates’ courts. Every person charged with an offence is summoned to appear before a local magistrates’ court, which may impose a fine up to a general limit of 2, 000 pounds or twelve months’ imprisonment, though for some specified offences the laws prescribe maximum penalties below these limits. With 98% of cases the magistrates on the bench decide on guilt or innocence, and if necessary what penalty to impose. With more serious cases the magistrates can decide only to send them for trial in a crown court. Crown Courts Criminal offences may be grouped into three categories. Offences triable only on indictment – the very serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery – are tried only by the Crown Court presided over by a judge sitting with a jury.
Summary offences – the least serious offences and the vast majority of criminal cases – are tried by unpaid lay magistrates sitting without a jury. A third category of offences (such as theft, burglary, or malicious wounding’s) are known as ‘either way’ offences and can be tried either by magistrates or by the Crown Court depending on the circumstances of each case and the wishes of the defendant. In addition to dealing with summary offences and the ‘either way’ offences which are intrusted to them, the magistrates’ courts commit cases to the Crown Court either for trial or for sentence. Committals for trial are either of indictable offences or of ‘either way’ offences, which it has been determined, will be tried in the Crown Court. Committals for sentence occur when the defendant in an ‘either way’ case has been tried summarily but the court has decided to commit him or her to the Crown Court for sentence. The Crown Court is the higher court, which deals with very serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery, which make about 2% of all criminal cases.
There are about 90 Crown Court centres, in six regional areas called circuits, with most of them situated in London and the larger towns. The Central Criminal Court in London (known as the Old Bailey) is now a Crown Court centre. The centres are divided into different level of importance, so that the more serious criminal and civil cases are heard by top-level courts. The administration of the Crown Courts is organized centrally by the Lord Chancellor’s Department in London. The Crown Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all indictable offences wherever committed. Innocence or guilt is determined at a trial presided by a judge, with a jury of twelve citizens.
The English law presumes the innocence of an accused person: thus it is the prosecution who has the burden of establishing guilt. An accused person has the right to employ a legal advisor and if cannot afford to pay he may be granted legal aid wholly or partly from the state. Vocabulary Notes to the text ‘Crown Courts’. 1.
triable – 2. manslaughter – 1); 2) 3. rape – 4. lay magistrate -; (lay = justices of the peace) 5.
theft -, 6. burglary – 7. indictable offences -, 8. to try summarily -.
REVISION TASK 1. Read the continuation of the text ‘Crown Courts’ and substitute Russian words in brackets by the English ones. Use the list of words below. There are 63 full-time, legally qualified (, ) who may sit alone and usually ( / ) in urban areas where the workload is heavy. Cases involving people under 17 are heard in ( ).
These are specially constituted magistrates’ courts which either sit apart from other courts or are held at a different time.
Only limited categories of people may be present and ( ) must not identify any juvenile appearing either as a (, , ) or a ().
Where a young person under 17 is charged jointly with someone of 17 or over, the case is heard in an ordinary magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. If the person is found guilty, the court may transfer the case to a juvenile court for () unless satisfied that it is undesirable to do so. The Crown Court deals with trials of the more serious cases, the sentencing of offenders committed for sentence by magistrates’ courts, and appeals from magistrates’ courts.
It sits at about 90 centres and is presided over by High Court judges, full-time () and part-time (/ ).
All () take place before a jury. Magistrates sit with a circuit judge or recorder to deal with appeals and ( ).
The Government is planning to alter court procedure regarding cases of serious or complex fraud with a view to by-passing full committal proceedings in magistrates’ courts at the discretion of the prosecution, but with a special procedure under which the accused would be able to apply to the Crown Court () on the ground that there was no case to answer. 1.
to be discharged 2. contested trials 3. circuit judges 4. sentence 5. defendant 6. media reports.
7. stipendiary magistrates 8. to preside (in court) 9. juvenile courts 10.
juvenile offender 11. witness 12. recorder 13. committal for sentence TASK 2. Make a dialogue using set expressions and phrases.
Will you kindly answer me what you really know about stipendiary magistrates -, I agree with you, but… -, … That’s all right. Nevertheless, it is urgent to talk over the fate of juvenile offenders. -. , , ().
It is important to draw attention to the role and activities of the Crown Court… -… Everything depends on the circumstances: contested trials… -: … My information is that the Government is planning to alter… -, …
TASK 3. Finish the following sentences, using the information from the texts above. 1. The main branches of law in the UK are… 2.
The purpose of English criminal law is… 3. The purpose of English civil law is… 4. The criminal court system in English and Wales was created by… 5.
The JPs are… 6. Stipendiary magistrates are… 7. Criminal offences may be grouped into… They are…
8. The Old Bailey is… TASK 4. What words are given definitions to Choose them from the list below – the unlawful killing of a human without any malicious intent or deliberation, which may be involuntary, in the commission of a lawful act without due caution. – to kill (sb. ) unlawfully and intentionally.
– the crime of forcing sb. , esp. a woman to have sexual intercourse against her / his will. – to steal sth. from (a person or place), esp.
by violence or threat. – the judgment formally pronounced by the court or judge upon the defendant after his conviction in a criminal prosecution, imposing the punishment to be inflicted. – one who steals, esp. secretly and without violence. – burglar – one who breaks into houses or other buildings to steal.
murder; manslaughter; to rob; rape; theft; burglar; sentence CRIMINAL TRIALS Criminal trials normally take place in open court with two contending parties: the prosecution and the defence, and rules of evidence are rigorously applied. The accused is brought into the dock, the charge is read out, and he or she is asked to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’. On a ‘guilty’ plea, the person is usually sentenced after a short presentation of the facts by the prosecution. On a ‘not guilty’ plea, the trial proceeds in order to establish the person’s guilt or innocence. The responsibility of the prosecution is to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that the accused did commit the alleged crime.
If the proof is not sufficient, the jury must return a ‘not guilty’ verdict. When the trial begins, the leading counsel for the prosecution explains the crime to the jury. The prosecution builds up its case by presenting witnesses. One-by-one, they proceed to the witness box, where they take an oath. Some of the prosecution witnesses may be police officers reporting what they saw, with evidence of fingerprints or searches. The prosecuting counsel (barrister) then questions them so that the entire crime can be reconstructed.
Each witness then can be cross-examined by the other side. When the examination of the crown witnesses is concluded, the defence counsel calls witnesses for the defence, including the accused person himself, in an attempt to show that he is innocent; these witnesses may also be cross-examined by the other side. Then the accused, or his counsel, makes a speech, summarizing his defence. Finally the prosecuting counsel makes a speech in reply.
The prosecution and defence of an accused person are still generally carried out by solicitors in the magistrates’ courts and by barristers in the crown court, although it is possible to defend oneself. As Crown courts are contests between the two opposing parties, neither the prosecution nor the defence counsel is concerned to establish the whole truth about the accused person. Both may well wish to avoid aspects, which weaken their case. The Jury In jury trials the judge decides questions of law, sums up the evidence for the jury and instructs it on the relevant law, and discharges the accused and passes sentence. Only the jury decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. In England and Wales, if the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the judge may direct it to bring in a majority verdict provided that, in the normal jury of 12 people, there are not more than two dissentients.
If the jury returns a verdict of ‘not guilty’, the prosecution has no right of appeal and the defendant cannot be tried again for the same offence. In the event of a ‘guilty’ verdict, the defendant has a right of appeal to the appropriate court. A jury is completely independent of the judiciary. Any attempt to interfere with a jury once it is sworn in is punishable under the Contempt of Court Act 1981. People between the ages of 18 and 65 whose names appear on the electoral register, with certain exceptions, are liable for jury service and their names are chosen at random.
Ineligible persons include the judiciary, priests, people who have within the previous ten years been members of the legal profession, the Lord Chancellor’s Department, or the police, prison and probation services, and certain sufferers from mental illness. Persons disqualified from jury service include those who have, within the previous ten years, served any part of sentence of imprisonment, youth custody or detention, or been subject to a community service order, or, within the previous five years, been placed on probation. Anyone who has been sentenced to five or more years ” imprisonment is disqualified for life. REVISION TASK 1.
Check the comprehension of the texts ‘Criminal trials’ and ‘The Jury’ by choosing the answer, which you think, is correct. 1. Criminal trials are normally held in open court; a) criminal trials are not normally held in open court. b) yes, it is true as evidence may help the accused, the defence having the right to the last speech at the trial; c) criminal trials are normally in both open court and closed court.
2. In jury trials the judge discharges the accused or passes sentence. a) in jury trials the judge decides only questions of law; b) yes, it is true; besides the judge instructs the jury on the relevant law; c) in jury trials the jury pass (passes) sentence. 3. In jury trials only the jury decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. a) yes, it is true, then the judge passes sentence; b) the jury really decides this question, but the judge participates in this work; c) the jury does not decide this question.
4. In England and Wales the normal jury is of 12 people. a) no, there may be 6 people in the jury; b) in some cases, their number comes up to 18 people; c) according to law in the normal jury there are 12 people. 5. In the event of a ‘guilty’ verdict, the defendant has a right of appeal to the appropriate court. a) the defendant has no right of appeal; b) yes, it is true; the defendant has this right; c) the defendant can appeal to the Superior court.
6. A jury is completely independent of the judiciary. a) a jury to some extent depends on local authorities; b) a jury is affected by the Governmental officers; c) yes, it is true and any attempt to interfere with a jury is punishable under the Contempt of Court Act 1981. 7. Not everybody is liable for jury service. a) but yes, every person may be liable for jury service; b) there are certain limits for those who have within the previous ten years served any part of a sentence of imprisonment; c) yes, it is true, there are very high requirements to those who are liable for jury service, there are special rulings: ineligible persons include the judiciary, priests and many other.
CIVIL JUSTICE The Civil Law The main subdivision of the civil law of England, Wales and Northern Ireland are: family law, the law of property, the law of contract and the law of torts (covering injuries suffered by one person at the hands of another irrespective of any contract between them and including concepts such as negligence, defamation and trespass).
Other branches of the civil law include constitutional and administrative (particularly concerned with the use of executive power), industrial, maritime and ecclesiastical law. Scottish civil law has its own, often analogous, branches. Civil Courts England and Wales Most civil cases are heard in the first instance by the County Court, but in cases where large amounts are in dispute they will initially be heard in the High Court.
Appeal from both the County Courts and the High Court is to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division).
The jurisdiction of the 274 county courts covers actions founded upon contract and tort (with minor exceptions); trust and mortgage cases; and actions for the recovery of land. Cases involving claims exceeding set limits may be tried in the county court by consent of the parties or in certain circumstances on transfer from the High Court. Other matters dealt with by the county courts include hire purchase, the Rent Acts, landlord and tenant, and adoption cases. Divorce cases are determined in those courts designated as divorce county courts, and outside London bankruptcies are dealt with in certain county courts. The courts also deal with complaints of race and sex discrimination.
All judges of the Supreme Court (comprising the Court of Appeal, the Crown Court and the High Court) and all circuit judges and recorders have power to sit in the county courts, but each court has one or more circuit judges assigned to it by the Lord Chancellor, and the regular sittings of the court are mostly taken by them. The judge normally sits alone, although on request the court may, exceptionally, order a trial with a jury. The High Court of Justice is divided into the Chancery Division, the Queen’s Bench Division and the Family Division. Its jurisdiction is both original and appellate and covers civil and some criminal cases. In general, particular types of work are assigned to a particular division.
The Family Division, for instance, is concerned with all jurisdiction affecting the family, including that relating to adoption and guardianship. The Chancery Division deals with the interpretation of wills and the administration of estates. Maritime and commercial law is the responsibility of admiralty and commercial courts of the Queen’s Bench Division. Each of the 80 or so judges of the High Court is attached to one division on appointment but may be transferred to any other division while in office. Outside London (where the High Court sits at the Royal Courts of Justice) sittings are held at 26 county court centres.
For the hearing of cases at first instance, High Court judges sit alone. Appeals in civil matters from lower courts are heard by courts of two (or sometimes three) judges, or by single judges of the appropriate division, nominated by the Lord Chancellor. Vocabulary 1. family law – 2.
property – The law of property – 3. negligence – 4. defamation -, 5. trespass -, ; ; 6. the law of contract – 7. industrial law – 8.
maritime law – 9. ecclesiastic law – 10. litigation -, , () 11. jurisdiction -; ; ; ; ; ; actual jurisdiction – appellate jurisdiction – to come within the jurisdiction – to fall out sb’s jurisdiction – 12. mortgage – 13. trust -, , 14.
claim -; , 15. recorder -, ; , ; general recorder – 16. will -, 17. matrimonial proceedings – Commentary and notes 1. improving the machinery of civil justice – 2.
to reduce delays – 3. the limited civil jurisdiction – 4. maintenance orders – 5. adoption orders and affiliation orders – 6. actions for the recovery of land – 7. on transfer from the High Court – () 8.
circuit judges assigned to… -, … 9. its jurisdiction is both original and appellate -, 10. the administration of estates – REVISION TASK 1. Answer the questions: 1.
What are the main sub-divisions of the civil law of England, Wales and Northern Ireland 2. What cases do the county courts deal with 3. What do you know about the limited civil jurisdiction of magistrates’ courts 4. What does the jurisdiction of the 274 county courts cover 5. What cases may be tried in the county court by consent of the parties 6. What can you say about other matters dealt with by the county courts 7.
What kind of courts regard divorce cases 8. Do judges of the Supreme Court have power to sit in the county courts 9. How is the High Court of Justice divided TASK 2. Check the comprehension of the text “Civil Courts” by choosing the answer, which you think, is correct.
1. The jurisdiction of the county courts covers actions founded upon contract and tort; trust and mortgage cases. mortgage cases are under the jurisdiction of criminal courts; actions founded upon contract may be regarded by both civil courts and criminal courts; this statement is correct, in addition the recovery of land is under the jurisdiction of the county courts. 2. Other matters dealt with by the county courts include hire purchase, the Rent Acts, landlord and tenant, and adoption cases.
a) adoption cases cannot be regarded by the county courts, they are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court; b) yes, it is true, besides the county courts regard the cases on divorce, complaints of race and sex discrimination; c) the Rent Acts are under the jurisdiction of criminal acts. 3. All judges of the Supreme Court and all circuit judges have power to sit in the county courts. a) it is not quite so, not all circuit judges have power to sit in the county courts; b) the judges of the Court of Appeal have no power to sit in the courts either; c) yes, it is absolutely true, and in addition recorders have also power to sit in the county courts, but each court has one or more circuit judges, assigned to it by the Lord Chancellor, and the regular sittings of the court are mostly taken by them.
4. The High Court of Justice is divided into divisions. a) yes, it is true and it includes the Chancery Division, the Queen’s Bench Division and the Family Division; b) the High Court of Justice does not have any divisions; c) the High Court of Justice is divided into the Chancery Division and the Family Division and what is most interesting the High Court of Justice cannot be original. 5.
The Chancery Division deals with the interpretation of wills and the administration of estates. a) the Chancery Division deals only with the administration of estates; b) the Chancery Division deals with the administration of estates and the matters of bankruptcies; c) it is really true. 6. Maritime and commercial law is the responsibility of admiralty and commercial courts of the Queen’s Bench Division.
a) the Queen’s Bench Division mainly deals with a.