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Legal System of United Kingdom

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HomeBrud.gifLegal System of United Kingdom

There are three legal systems in United Kingdom.

  • Common Law of England or the English law is the law based on the common custom of the country. It is administered by the Common Law Courts and is followed in England and Wales.
  • Northern Ireland Law is followed in Northern Ireland.
  • Scots Law is followed in Scotland.

Judiciary in United Kingdom


  • England does not have a written "basic law" and hence the traditional governing principal is the supremacy of the Parliament. Parliament has the final say on what it can do and it can change any law that it chooses. Until the 20th Century Courts and lawyers have dealt mostly with cases that involve judge-made common law. This trend, however, is slowly changing with the courts dealing with a broader variety of cases.
  • Judges in England begin their career as practicing lawyers. There is no separate ladder for lawyers and judges.
  • In earlier days, there are several legal professions: Attorneys, Conveyancers, Serjeants-at-law, King's Counsel etc.
  • Trial Courts in England are divided into:
    • Civil or Criminal
    • Less Serious/Complex or More Serious/Complex
  • Civil Courts in England are divided into County Courts and the High Court
  • Criminal Courts in England are divided into Magistrates' Court and Crown Court
  • The Court of Appeal is the first level appellate court. Higher to it is the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords.
  • Because of the concept of Solicitor and Barrister, litigants might have to pay twice to two different legal professionals to get justice. Solicitor are sought to initiate the action while Barrister are used to present the case before the Judge.

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Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Law

  • Ardeshir v Flaora Sassoon, AIR 1928 PC 208: "It will be useful, in the interpretation of the relevant sections, to have in mind what the English system on which the Act is based was in its origin and in its fullness at the date of codification."
  • Akshyalingam v Avayambala, AIR 1933 Mad 386; Kishorechand v Badaun ESC, AIR 1944 Al 66 (77), Namdeo v Narmadabai, AIR 1953 SC 2228; Muralilal v Devkaran, AIR 1965 C 225; Ganeshilal v Joti, AIR 1953 SC 1; Valliama v Sivathanu, AIR 1979 SC 1937 (paras 29, 31): Where the Act is silent or the Act does not apply, the English principles may be resorted to in so far as they are consonant within the principles of 'justice, equity and good conscience'.