United Kingdom follows a strict hierarchical structure as far as its judicial system is concerned. The judicial system of the country is mainly divided into three levels or sections. Each is responsible for handling its own area of jurisdiction and this helps in easy management and smooth running of the country’s legal system.
The two main courts in UK include Criminal courts and civil courts. Within each of these branches, there are several courts arranged in a hierarchical manner. The following is a detailed hierarchy of civil courts in UK.
The Civil Courts of England and Wales constitute of the following bodies/ entities:
- The Supreme Court of United Kingdom
- The Court of Appeal, Civil Division
- The High Court of Justice
- The Country Courts
- The Tribunals
The following is the hierarchy of UK civil courts
The Supreme Court of UK
The highest court in UK is the Supreme Court. This is the highest most body of civil judiciary which is also the final court of appeal in England and Wales. The jurisdiction given by this court cannot be argued upon or challenged by anyone in the country.
The Court of Appeal
The next court that comes in the hierarchical structure is the court of appeal. Within this court, there are two main divisions-the criminal division and the civil division. The civil section of the court of appeal hears appeals from the high court, the country courts and the tribunals. The decisions taken by the court of appeals are binding on itself and other courts except for the Supreme Court.
The High Court
The next court in the civil court hierarchy of UK is the High court. Within this court, there are three major divisions which are given as follows:
- The Queen’s Bench Division- this is the division which handles all of those cases that are related to tort and contracts in the area. The segments and courts which come under this division include the mercantile court, administrative court, commercial court, admiralty court, and technology and construction court.
- The Family Division- The next division which the high court of UK consists of is the family division. This is the division or segment which houses the divisional court, Companies court, and the patents court.
- The Chancery Division- This is the third division and is one which houses the court that handles all cases related to family law and matrimony etc.
The next level of courts in UK is the county courts. The jurisdiction area of these kinds of courts is totally civil and the sittings of these courts in 92 towns/ cities across all UK. These courts mainly handle almost all the litigations and cases associated with civil law. District and circuit judges handle cases of county courts.
These are the special courts which handle areas and cases related to employment, child welfare and immigration etc. These are those cases which are governed by the tribunals in UK and are separate for different regions.