British Courts Hierarchy

Britain follows a strict hierarchical structure in its judicial system. Thanks to this judicial system, the country is known for the way it manages crime and civil matters. The British courts are divided into three broad sections or levels which operated in hierarchical structured manner. Each of these divisions is only responsible for itself and is independent from the others.  To know and understand the hierarchy of British courts a little better, you can go through the following given information.

British courts hierarchy

The Supreme Court of Britain

In Britain, the highest court is the Supreme Court. This is the final court of appeal and justice in England and Wales and any verdict given by it cannot be contested or argued by anyone in the country.

The Court of Appeal

The second highest court in the country is the court of appeal.  There are two main divisions within this level and they are the criminal division and the civil division.  The civil division of the court of appeal takes all cases which are civil in nature and coming from the high court, the county courts and the tribunals. The decisions taken by the court of appeals are binding on itself and other courts but not the Supreme Court. The criminal division on the other hand hears all criminal cases coming from county courts, tribunals and high court.

The High Court

Third in line in the British courts hierarchy is the High Court. This is the highest court of appeal within different states and this is further divided into three main divisions which are given as follows:

  • The Queen’s Bench Division- this is the division of High court of Britain which handles cases which are related to tort and contracts in the area. There are many other small courts which come under this division and some of them include the mercantile court, administrative court, commercial court, admiralty court, and technology and construction court.
  • The Family Division- The next division within the High courts is the Family division which houses the divisional court, Companies court, and the patents court.
  • The Chancery Division- This is the third division within the High court’s of Britain and is one which houses the court handling all cases related to family law and matrimony etc.

County Courts

At the 4th level of hierarchy in Britain courts are the county courts.  The jurisdiction handled by these courts is civil in nature and these courts are spread across 92 towns/ cities across all UK. They handle almost all the litigations and cases associated with civil law. District and circuit judges handle all those cases and appeals which come to county courts from lower courts and tribunals.

The Tribunals

The lowest level of courts in Britain is the tribunals. These are basically those special courts which handle cases and appeals that are related to employment, child welfare and immigration etc. These are those cases that are governed by the tribunals in UK and there are separate tribunals for different regions.