System of justice in Great Britain


Criminal Courts

Very serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery are tried on indictment only by the Crown Court, where all contested trials are presided over by a judge sitting with a jury. Less serious criminal charges are handled by Magistrates’ Courts that are the most common typeof law court in England and Wales.

Civil Courts

Magistrates’ Courts have limited civil jurisdiction, they have concurrent jurisdiction with the County Courts and the High Court in cases relating to children.

Appeals from the High Court are heard in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) and may go on to the House of Lords, the final Court of Appeal.

The House of Lords is the highest and final court of appeal in England and Wales 191scotland has its own High Court in Edinburgh that hears all appeals from Scottish Courts). Certain cases may be referred to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. In addition, individuals have made the British Government change its practices in a number of areas as a result of petition to the European Court of Human Rights.


Scotland has its own legal system, separate from the rest of the United Kingdom. Although it also uses an adversarial system of legal procedure, the basis of its law is closer to Roman and Dutch law.