1. County Court
There are about 230 county courts most of which are in major towns. Cases are heard by a District or Circuit judge. They mainly deal with:
Small Claims Track Cases (less than £5000)
Cases of Contract and Tort
Disputes over partnerships, trusts & inheritance (up to value of £30,000)
All cases for the recovery of land.
On a rare occasion the judge may sit with a jury of 8 to hear cases of:
* malicious prosecution
2. High Court
The High Court is based in London but also has judges sitting in 26 towns and cities in England and Wales. It can hear any civil case and has 3 divisions each of which specialises in different types of cases:
1. Family Division
There are 18 High Court judges in this division. They hear disputes relating to: Marriage and Divorce, Wardship (legal custody) and children under the Children Act (1989) and non-disputed probate (wills) cases.
2. Chancery Division
There are about 20 High Court judges in this division. They mainly deal with matters concerning: insolvency, enforcement of mortgages, trust property, copyrights, intellectual property & probate.
3. Queens Bench Division
There are nearly 70 judges sitting in this division. It deals with contract and tort cases usually where a claim is over £50,000. Cases are usually heard by a single judge but there is a right to a jury for cases of Fraud, Libel, Slander, Malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.
From County Court
Claims under £5000 are known as small claims track cases. Still heard in County but sit as Small Claims Ct
Claims under £25000 are known as fast track cases:
A case heard by a district judge will be heard by a Circuit judge in the same County Court for appeal.
A case heard by a circuit judge will go to a high court judge on appeal. Further appeals go to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) but are only allowed in exceptional cases.
For claims over £25000 i.e. multi-track cases which are heard by a circuit judge or in the High court (if complex), the appeal route is always the COA with further appeal to the Supreme Court.
From High Court
Cases usually go to the Court of appeal (Civil Division). In rare cases can ‘leap-frog’ to the supreme court under the Administration Justice act (1969) if the appeal involves point of law which is of general public importance concerned with either the interpretation of the statute. The Supreme court must give leave (permission) to appeal.
Classification of offence
Always heard in the magistrates
Nearly all driving offences, not paying TV licence, criminal damage (less than £50,000)
Offences triable either way
Those which may be committed in a serious or minor manner
If plead guilty usually heard in the MC if not guilty D has the right to ask it to be heard in the crown with a jury. theft, assault causing ABH
The preliminary hearing will be in the M.C but will be tried in crown court murder, manslaughter, rape
THE CRIMINAL COURTS AND APPEALS
1. The Magistrates’ Court
This is the court for an initial trial. A case may be heard on appeal at the:
Crown Court –This appeal is only available to the defendant and is an automatic right. If the defendant pleaded not guilty at the Magistrates’