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JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN ENGLAND AND WALES

 

 

A judge is a state official, who knows a lot about the law, and has thepower to adjudicate on disputes and other matters brought before the courtfor decision. The independence of judges is guaranteed by the Constitutionand the laws of the country.

In the United Kingdom judicial independence is the doctrine that decisions of the judiciary should be impartial and not subject to influence from other branches of government or from private or political interests. It is guaranteed by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, s.3. Judicial independence is also secured by giving judges long, sometimes lifetime, tenure and making them not easily removable from their office. As long as judges hold their positions in «good order», they remain in post until they wish to retire or until they reach 70.

There are two types of judicial independence in the USA: institutional and decisional. The former means that the judicial branch is independent of the executive and legislative branches, while the latter lies in the idea that judges should be able to decide cases solely based on the law and facts, without letting the media, politics, or other concerns influence their decisions, and without fearing punishment in the careers for their decisions. Law-abiding federal judges have lifetime appointments. Another condition of judicial independence is proper judicial selection. Many state legislatures prefer election by the general public but many professionals view judicial elections as rewarding political skills rather than legal ones.

The Laws of Ukraine «On Status of Judges», «On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine», «On Court Organization in Ukraine», «On Contempt of Court» and others determine the status of judges and provide their independence. Unity of status of judges is ensured by common requirements for candidates for a post of a judge, their powers, rights and duties, protection from interference in their work, means of legal, social and financial protection, immunity, political neutrality, etc. Guarantees of judges’ independence include the procedure of their election (appointment), secret of making a decision, prohibition on interference in administration of justice, responsibility for contempt of court or judge and so on.

Though there are significant differences between the functions of judges in different legal systems, they have some common functions. In judicial proceedings they are responsible for conducting a trial fairly, orderly and efficiently, observing the established procedures. Judges interpret and apply laws, decide questions related to pretrial release. In preliminary hearings and trial without a jury, they determine both the points of fact and the points of law. In jury trials they instruct jurors: the judge calls the jury’s attention to all most important points in the evidence and favours neither prosecution nor defence. In common law countries they also create law by establishing precedents.

The position of a judge is usually prestigious in society.



 

1. The summary of the text contains mistakes. Correct them.

The text «Independence of Judges, their Status and Role in Judicial

Proceedings» deals with the constitutional law. It starts with the description

of judges’ functions in the USA. Then it explains the judicial independence

doctrine in the UK. After that the author introduces two types of judicial

independence in Ukraine. Further on the author passes on to the status of

judges in Ukraine. At the end of the text there is a definition of a judge.

2. Find in the text

a) – the definition of a judge;

– the explanation of the judicial independence doctrine in the UK;

– two types of judicial independence in the USA;

– the functions of a judge.

b) the legal terms which correspond to the following definitions:

– an institution that has power to make or change the laws;

– respectful of the law and obeying it;

– not involved in a particular situation and therefore able to give a fair

opinion or piece of advice;

– disobedience or disrespect towards the court of law or judge;

– to officially decide who is right in a disagreement and decide what

should be done;

– an order that forbids something;

– an act of interfering in something.

 

3. Decide which pairs of words below are the same (synonyms), opposite (antonyms) or different. Add at least one pair to each group.

Independence– dependence, long – good, term – tenure, impartial

– fair, points – questions, biased – impartial, law – fact, post – position,

interpret – apply, unlawful – illegal, civil – criminal.

 

4. Complete the lists with the words and phrases connected with the following:

Sources of judicial independence:

... Means of judicial independence:

… Status of judges: …

Duties of judges: …

5. a) Read the following definitions of the word ‘contempt’ and choose the one in which it is used in the text:

a) a feeling that someone or something is not important and deserves no respect;

b) disobedience(íåïîêîðà) or disrespect towards a court;

c) disobedience or disrespect towards a judge;

d) complete lack of fear about something.

b) Match the types of contempt of court to their Ukrainian

equivalents:

 

Direct contempt
Indirect contempt
Civil contempt
Criminal contempt

 

c) Find the English equivalents for the following words and phrases in the paragraphs below among those in italics:

 

PRACTICE AND EXPERIENCE

1. Work in pairs. One of you is a journalist and the other is a judge in a court of your choice in the UK, the USA or Ukraine. Prepare q u esti o ns and answers and b e r e ady t o r e p r o d u c e the interview.

WRITING

1. Write a letter to your friend in the UK or the USA about

a) the judicial system of Ukraine; or

b) judges in Ukraine.

OVER TO YOU

QUIZ

1. How many of these questions can you answer?

1. What are the two main areas of jurisdiction in the English judicial

system?

2. Ordinary people play two important roles in the administration of

justice in the UK and the USA. What are their roles?

3. What was the role of the House of Lords in the British judicial

system?

4. Can a precedent be too old to be a binding precedent today?

5. You ask Mr Cole’s job and he tells you he is an attorney. Is he

American or British?

6. If the US House of Representatives is equivalent to the British

Commons, what is the British equivalent to the Senate?

7. What is the Old Bailey?

8. Do British judges always wear wigs in court?

 

2. Find 28 legal terms hidden in the square below: 16 read across and 12 read down.

 

J U R I S D I C T I O N Y L Q P I
U X L A W V P P R E C E D E N T N
S R I G H T T R I A L N J G H I D
T O C A S E H V B F E M K A R S E
I C O D E N R J U D G E L L E U P
C O U R T J A B N D I S P U T E E
E N H E Y U P R A F S S C B K G N
A T V V A R P F L C L A I M J Z D
G E O I C O E O N E A T T N O P E
R M T E T R A R B I T R A T I O N
L T E W K R L A C J U B P Q Y W C
K B U C L A W Y E R R R U L E E E
A X I M M U N I T Y E O I J U R Y

 

JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN ENGLAND AND WALES

 

 

The Ministry of Justice is a department of the government in the UK, created under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The Lord Chief Justice is the head of the Judiciary.

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the court of last resort, highest appellate court in all matters under English law, Welsh law, Northern Irish law and Scottish civil law (the High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland). The Supreme Court started work on 1 October

2009. It replaced the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the

highest court in the UK.The court hears appeals on arguable points of law

of the greatest public importance. There are 12 Justices of the Supreme

Court; one of them is the President.

The Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice and Crown Court are

senior courts in the English legal system. The Court of Appeal consists of two

divisions: the Civil Division hears appeals from the High Court and County

Courts, and some superior tribunals, while the Criminal Division may hear

appeals from the Crown Courts connected with a trial on indictment (i.e. trial

by judge and jury, (the jury is present if the defendant pleads «not guilty»)).

Three Lord Justices of Appeal hear an appeal, reaching a decision of majority.

The decisions are binding on all courts apart from the Supreme Court of the

United Kingdom. Lords Justices are selected from the ranks of senior judges.

The High Court of Justice or the High Court functions both as a civil court

of first instance and a criminal appellate court. It consists of three divisions:

the Queen’s Bench Division mainly deals with civil actions based upon contract

law or tort, and appeals on points of law from Crown Courts; the Chancery

Division is concerned with matters relating to business law, intellectual property

and some others; the Family Division hears cases connected with family law.

High Court Judges are normally Privy Counselors.

The Crown Court is the higher court of first instance in serious criminal

cases, which also hears criminal appeals from Magistrates’ Courts, and handles

a number of civil cases both at first instance and on appeal. The court carries

out four principal types of activity: appeals from decisions of magistrates,

sentencing of defendants committed from Magistrates’ Courts, jury trials, and

the sentencing of those who are convicted in the Crown Court, either after trial

or on pleading guilty. High Court Judges, Circuit Judges and Recorders may

sit in the Crown Court. Circuit Judges are the same ones who sit in the County

Courts, and have had a seven-year qualification, or from Recorders. Recorders

are barristers or solicitors in private practice, who sit as part-time judges.

Magistrates’ Court is the court where all criminal prosecutions are

initiated. Though they hear only minor criminal offences, 95% of all criminal

cases are tried there. These courts have a limited jurisdiction in civil matters

relating to family law (Family Proceedings Court) and licensing applications.

Youth Courts, special magistrates’ courts, deal with offenders under 18 years

old. Magistrates’ Courts are presided over by three lay magistrates (Justices of

the Peace) who are unpaid but trained volunteers, or by a District Judge. The magistrates are assisted by a professional legal adviser or Clerk to the Justices, and there is no jury. District Judges are barristers or solicitors of 5 years’ general practice. Deputy District Judges, i.e. practising solicitors or barristers, can sit as part-time judges in Magistrates’ and County Courts.

The County Courts are courts of purely civil jurisdiction. They are local courts and deal mostly with certain kinds of actions concerning land. Most matters are decided by a District Judge or Circuit Judge sitting alone. Civil cases (with some exceptions, e.g. in some actions against the police) do not have juries. Judges in the County Courts are either former barristers or solicitors.

The independent Judicial Appointment Commission selects candidates for judges, who are appointed on behalf of the Monarch.

 

1. Find in the text the information on:

a) courts of appellate jurisdiction;

b) courts of original jurisdiction;

c) courts of both original and appellate jurisdiction;

d) judges and their appointment.

 

2. Draw up a diagram, which shows the hierarchy and jurisdiction of the courts in England and Wales. Start with the highest court in the country.

 

3. Complete the table with the information from the text and rearrange it from superior to inferior judges. Pay attention that some types of judges may sit in different types of courts.

 

Judicial Office Court(s) Qualifications
Deputy District Judges    
  The Supreme Court of the UK  
    Barrister or solicitor, 5 years’ general practice
Circuit Judges    
  County Court  
  High Court of Justice  
Recorders    

 

4. Fill the gaps of the text with suitable words and entitle it. The first and sometimes the last letters of the missing words are given.

The Courts of Northern Ireland are c…l and c…l courts responsible for the administration of j…e in Northern Ireland.

The UK Supreme Court is the h…t court of appeal. The Supreme C… of Judicature (â³äïðàâëåííÿ ïðàâîñóääÿ) is the most superior court of N…n I…d. It c…s of the following courts: the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and the Crown Court.

The Court of A… is the highest court of Northern Ireland. It hears a…s from the lower courts and tribunals.

The H… Court, like its English equivalent, consists of the Queen’s

Bench, F…y and Chancery Divisions.

The Crown Court h… more serious criminal cases.

The County Courts are the main c…l courts. They hear different civil

c…s and appeals from m…s’ courts.

Magistrates’ Courts (including Youth Courts and Family Proceedings

Courts) hear less serious c…l cases.

 

5. Arrange the following sentences logically to make up the paragraph on the courts in Scotland.

1) The Court of Session is the supreme civil court and both a court of first instance and a court of appeal.

2) District Courts sitting in each local area handle less serious criminal cases.

3) The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court and both a court of the first instance and a court of appeal.

4) The Sherriff Court is the other civil court.

5) The UK Supreme Court is the highest civil court of appeal in

Scotland.

6) The Sherriff Court is the main criminal court.

7) The civil, criminal and heraldic Courts of Scotland are responsible

for the administration of justice.

WRITING

1. Prepare a report on the route of a criminal or civil case from the lowest court to the highest one in the UK.

 

2. Read the definitions and write the words in the grid to find the mystery word.

1) A member of a jury;

2) The place where a trial is held;

3) The chief official in control of a court of law;

4) The right to use an official power to make legal decisions, or the

area where this right exists;

5) An official decision made in a court of law, especially about whether

someone is guilty of a crime or how a death happened;

6) Relating to law, judges or their system;

7) A formal request to a court or someone in authority asking for a

decision to be changed;

8) A legal process in which a judge and often a jury examine information

to decide whether a person is guilty of a crime;

9) A person who has a certificate in law.

 

 


Date: 2014-12-28; view: 1376


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