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The court system

Mass solicitor and barrister walkout against Government legal aid fee cuts

For the first time ever barristers across England and Wales have staged a refusal to work in the criminal courts, to raise the issue of the Government’s plans to cut legal aid fees by up to 30%.

They are being joined by solicitors, in what is also an unprecedented move, as they seek to highlight the two major issues at stake – the cutting of fees for legal aid work, and the belief that this will lead to poorer quality legal representation for those people not able to pay privately.

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Contempt laws under review for modern juries

According to a report by the BBC, the Law Commission has begun a consultation into the effectiveness of England and Wales’ contempt of court rules.

The current law was introduced in 1981, long before the ‘information superhighway’ became a part of our day-to-day lives.

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Musical-loving student sentenced for contempt of court

A Manchester university student has been sentenced for contempt of court after he didn’t perform his jury duty. 19-year-old Matthew Banks had tickets to a London West End show on the fifth day of the trial. In order to see the show he claimed to be ill and unable to attend the hearing. However, Banks didn’t stay at home, and instead went to see the musical Chicago with his mother.

Banks’ deception was discovered after officials visited his home to see whether he would be fit to resume jury duty after the weekend.

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UK Attorney General to Challenge power of European Court of Human Rights

The Government’s main legal advisor, the Attorney General Dominic Grieve, is to address the European Court of Human Rights on two key issues in November. Firstly, he both is critical of the Court’s view on prisoners’ voting rights and also believes that the principle of subsidiarity should be further emphasised.

The principle of subsidiarity is a core principle of the European Convention of Human Rights. It ensures that the Strasbourg Court does not impose itself on national courts. Grieve believes that this principle needs to be clarified and that national Courts should have the final say on matters. (more…)

Why are there different tracks for civil claims?

In civil claims, the court will allocate the matter to one of three tracks. Namely, the small claims track, the fast track, and the multi-track. When deciding which track to allocate a case to, the principal factor taken into account by the courts is the financial value of the claim.
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What is the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The Court replaced the House of Lords, previously the last court of appeal in the UK. The business and workings of the Court will be essentially the same as those of the House of Lords; the changes brought about by the reforms are constitutional in nature and beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that The Supreme Court operates with greater independence from Parliament than the House of Lords, and with greater transparency and openness. (more…)

How does the coroners’ court work?

Following a person’s death, it is standard practice for a doctor to examine the body to determine the cause of death. A coroner will only be used in certain situations, including: (more…)

What is the hierarchy of the UK Court system?

The hierarchy of the court system has been established so that the majority of cases are heard in the lower courts, with only appeals on important points of law and public interest being heard in the higher courts. Legal advice should be obtained to ensure the right court hears any given case. (more…)

The court system Image

Most of us have many questions about how the UK court system works. Whether you are a student, or you have an upcoming case in a UK court or tribunal, or if you’re just interested in learning about the UK legal system, our blog discusses a range of topics. Issues discussed include the structure and hierarchy of the court system, which court is for what type of claim, how the court process works, and how to get legal advice.

We also explore current topics in the news regarding the court system, such as proposed reductions to the number of UK magistrates and crown courts, and the role of the new Supreme Court.

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