System and Law Making
B T E C N AT I O N A L 9 0 C R E D I T D I P L O M A I N
By the end of the session, the learner:
MUST be able to: List the hierarchy of the civil
courts in the correct order
SHOULD be able to: Describe the work of each of the civil courts in the hierarchy
MAY be able to: Describe the appeal process of the civil courts
Civil disputes are generally between:
Local or national Government departments
The dispute will be between the claimant and the
The claimant will issue proceedings against the defendant for some form of loss or harm suffered.
The defendant is the party who is alleged to have caused this loss or harm.
Courts of First Instance
The main jurisdiction of the magistrates’ court is as
a criminal court.
It does have some civil jurisdiction:
Most family matters (except divorce);
Recovery of unpaid council tax;
Charges for water, gas and electricity;
Granting licences for gambling or sale of alcohol. County Court
Deals with many types of civil dispute – such as:
contracts, torts, bankruptcy, property, divorce.
There are approximately 250 county courts in
England and Wales.
Dealt with by a judge or district judge.
Depending on the value of the case, it will be dealt with by a different track:
Small Claims Track – claims of under £5,000;
Fast Track – claims between £5,000 and £15,000;
Multi Track – claims over £15,000 (can be transferred to the High Court).
The High Court has three divisions:
Queen’s Bench Division [contract and tort cases];
Family Division [all aspects of family matters];
Chancery Division [cases concerning equity].
Cases allocated to the Multi Track are likely to be
heard in the High Court.
Approx. 120 High Court Judges [known as Puisne judges]. In court, a High Court judge is referred to as My
Lord or My Lordship if male, or as My Lady or Your
Ladyship if female.
High Court (as an Appeal Court)
Queen’s Bench Divisional Court:
May hear appeals on a point of law by way of case stated
from Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court or tribunal;
Family Divisional Court:
Hears appeals from the decisions on Magistrates’ Courts and County Courts in respect