ændrew.com v8

Media Law lecture -- Court Structure

October 03, 2011

Interesting topics:

Photography in court — in Britain, court sketches only; must be done from memory outside of court. Ken Clarke (sp?) said there may be some changes in terms of what’s allowed in the future.

Rio Ferdindand v. Mirror Group — Look at the judgement, Judicial Communications Office.

Sign up for: Adjudications from the PCC Monthly Bulletin, OFCOM; inforrm

Two branches of law

Criminal Law

  • Controls behaviour
  • R. v Smith
  • Legal aid
  • Trial: Magistrates Court (summary courts), then Crown Court (indictable offenses). (Some cases are either way)
  • Either a magistrate or a judge/jury decides outcome

Civil Law

  • Resolves disputes
  • Brown v. Jones
  • Privately funded (Ability to take cases where individuals can’t pay but may win — conditional fees — with uplift fees due to extra risk.)
  • Trial: County Court / High Court (If >£50,000 for personal complaints, >£15,000 for other disputes)
  • Vast majority of cases decided by a judge


  • If a matter of law, an appeal from the magistrates court goes to High Court. If a matter of fact, goes to Crown Court, then Appeals Court.
  • Court of Appeals has two divisions, one each for civil and criminal

A workflow for cases:

  • Royal Courts of Justice, Fleet St., then:
  • Supreme Court, Parliament Square, then:
  • Marylebone Road Magistrates, then:
  • Old Bailey criminal court, then back to Royal Courts of Justice.

The Courts System hierarchy

  1. Supreme Court
  2. Supreme Court Justices; head: Lord Phillips
  3. Court of Appeal (Civil division head: Master of the Rolls — Baron Neuberger; Criminal division head: Lord Judge)
  4. Crown Court (Criminal; Smalls Claims Court is a subdivision) or High Court (Civil; Family, Queens Bench and Chancery are subdivisions)
  5. Magistrates Court/Youth Court (Criminial) or Count Court (Civil)

High Court

  • Family division
  • Queens Bench division
  • Chancery Division

Personnel of the law

  • Judges — Supreme Court Justice, Lord Justice of Appeal, High court Judge, Circuit judge, District Judge, Recorder, Magistrates
  • Lord Chancellor (Head of the Ministry of Justice — Ken Clarke QC), Lord Chief Justice (, Master of the Rolls
  • Law officers: Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, Solicitor General (Deputy Attorney General)
  • Barristers/Solicitors *Barrister: More generalized, but many take specialized training *Solicitors: specialized Solicitor
  • In-house lawyers
  • Juries (12 members)
  • Crown Prosecution Service (Prosecution within the courts)
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Police

    • IPCC
    • ACPO
    • Police Federation

Ændrew Rininsland
© 2018 Ændrew Rininsland, except where otherwise noted.