History UsefulNotes / BritishCourts

28th Sep '15 12:01:05 AM karstovich2
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* Court records are historical documents. What might be bloody obvious right now may well be a minor footnote of popular culture twenty years later (or have vanished entirely, few kids in the playground these days would be familiar with the term Linford's Lunchbox for example), thus it needs to be explained for the sake of future readers (since the UK is a precedent-based judicial system this is rather important), and also noted in case of an appeal at a later date. [[note]]"Who is Gazza?" is actually a good example of precedent in action. The judge's ''next'' question was whether Gascoigne was as widely known as UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington had been in 1815... which was, in fact, quite a relevant question: Gascoigne was asking the court to ban an unauthorized biography of him, but there was a precedent that public figures had limited rights to privacy, which stemmed from a lawsuit brought by the Duke of Wellington.[[/note]]


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* Court records are historical documents. What might be bloody obvious right now may well be a minor footnote of popular culture twenty years later (or have vanished entirely, few kids in the playground these days would be familiar with the term Linford's Lunchbox for example), thus it needs to be explained for the sake of future readers (since the UK is a precedent-based judicial system this is rather important), and also noted in case of an appeal at a later date. [[note]]"Who is Gazza?" is actually a good example of precedent in action. The judge's ''next'' question was whether Gascoigne was as widely known as UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington had been in 1815...[[UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars 1815]]... which was, in fact, quite a relevant question: Gascoigne was asking the court to ban an unauthorized biography of him, but there was a precedent that public figures had limited rights to privacy, which stemmed from a lawsuit brought by the Duke of Wellington.[[/note]]

17th Aug '15 9:04:05 PM karstovich2
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* The High Court of Justiciary: Generally called the High Court. It's a peculiar court in that its members are always the same as those of Scotland's highest civil appeals court, the Court of Session, but the two courts are still legally distinct. Tries the most serious offences. There are permanent sittings in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and it is also a circuit court, visiting other Scottish cities and large towns. Always has a jury when sitting as a trial court; however, it also sits as an appeals court for appeals from the lower criminal courts. Uniquely in the UK, there are no appeals from the High Court of Justiciary; every other court's decisions are subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, but not this one's. Judges here are referred to as My Lord.

to:

* The High Court of Justiciary: Generally called the High Court. It's a peculiar court in that its members are always the same as those of Scotland's highest civil appeals court, the Court of Session, but the two courts are still legally distinct. Tries the most serious offences. There are permanent sittings in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and it is also a circuit court, visiting other Scottish cities and large towns. Always has a jury when sitting as a trial court; however, it also sits as an appeals court for appeals from the lower criminal courts. Uniquely in the UK, there are no appeals from the High Court of Justiciary; every other court's decisions are decisions--including those of the Court of Session (which, you will recall, is composed of the same people as the High Court of Justiciary)--are subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, but not this one's. Judges here are referred to as My Lord.
17th Aug '15 8:49:20 PM karstovich2
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** ''Series/RumpoleOfTheBailey'': Centers on a defence barrister who mostly does Crown Court work, usually at the Old BaileyBailey.
** ''Series/GarrowsLaw'': Centers on a defence barrister who mostly does Crown Court work, usually at the Old Bailey. The difference is that it's [[RecycledINSPACE IN GEORGIAN TIMES!]], and the barrister in question more or less ''invented'' defence work.

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** ''Series/RumpoleOfTheBailey'': Centers on a criminal defence barrister who mostly does Crown Court work, usually at the Old BaileyBailey.
** ''Series/GarrowsLaw'': Centers on a criminal defence barrister who mostly does Crown Court work, usually at the Old Bailey. The difference is that it's [[RecycledINSPACE IN GEORGIAN TIMES!]], and the barrister in question more or less ''invented'' defence work.
17th Jul '15 6:47:21 AM Ciara25
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The whole court dress thing can be dispensed with in very hot weather or if minors are being tried, since it could be intimidating.

Gavels are not used, contrary to popular portrayal. British courts are notably more orderly than their American counterparts. The sight of men in horsehair can intimidate the most hardened criminal and the most irascible plaintiff. In addition, while barristers can object to a line of questioning, they do not yell "Objection!"

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The whole court dress thing can be dispensed with in very hot weather weather, or if minors are being tried, since it could be intimidating.

intimidating. Also, since 2007 both judges and lawyers no longer wear wigs during non-criminal trials such as family or civil cases, although they do still wear the gowns.

Gavels are not used, contrary to popular portrayal. British courts are notably more orderly than their American counterparts. The sight of men and women in horsehair can intimidate the most hardened criminal and the most irascible plaintiff. In addition, while barristers can object to a line of questioning, they do not yell "Objection!"
27th May '15 2:21:52 PM Exxolon
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You also do not get the somewhat lurid speculation on new evidence that you find in the US. This is because of the rules of contempt of court. When a paper reports a criminal court case, it usually has to break out the NewspaperSpeechMarks, so you'll get things like "Smith 'spent hours on porn sites'" or "Mandy's 'secret drug deals'".

Newspapers will not give an opinion on the case during the trial, either in headlines or editorials. They cannot discuss the past record of the defendant and the jury are not told this either.

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You also do not get the somewhat lurid speculation on new evidence that you find in the US. This is because of the rules of contempt of court. court - as soon as someone is arrested, charged, has a warrant issued for their arrest or has a summons issued against them the entire case is considered "sub judice" and strict rules are applied as to how cases are reported on. When a paper reports a criminal court case, it usually has to break out the NewspaperSpeechMarks, so you'll get things like "Smith 'spent hours on porn sites'" or "Mandy's 'secret drug deals'".

deals'". Newspapers will not give an opinion on the case during the trial, either in headlines or editorials. They cannot discuss the past record of the defendant and the jury are not told this either.
25th May '15 7:49:32 PM notriddle
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** ''Series/RumpoleOfTheBailey'': Centers on a defence barrister who mostly does Crown Court work, usually [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin at the Old Bailey]].

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** ''Series/RumpoleOfTheBailey'': Centers on a defence barrister who mostly does Crown Court work, usually [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin at the Old Bailey]].BaileyBailey.



This is the extent of criminal trial courts; however, some of the "civil" courts might appear in matters related to criminal prosecutions. The Crown Court is, with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales; High Court judges sit on the Crown Court (about which more below). The High Court's Queen's Bench Division, whose main duty is hearing civil cases in "law" (contract and tort, basically; the latter overlaps with crime a bit, since some crimes are also torts), also serves as a supervisory court, which includes hearing some criminal appeals from the Magistrates' Court and Crown Court. The High Court's Chancery Division and Family Division are ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, with the Family Division having far more to do with the Crown Court's criminal business (since criminal trials often end up causing family trouble; not a few British legal dramas have made occasional forays into its precincts) and thus appearing in media far more often than Chancery (which mostly involves corporations and rich people suing each other over property, as well as tax cases).

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This is the extent of criminal trial courts; however, some of the "civil" courts might appear in matters related to criminal prosecutions. The Crown Court is, with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales; High Court judges sit on the Crown Court (about which more below). The High Court's Queen's Bench Division, whose main duty is hearing civil cases in "law" (contract and tort, basically; the latter overlaps with crime a bit, since some crimes are also torts), also serves as a supervisory court, which includes hearing some criminal appeals from the Magistrates' Court and Crown Court. The High Court's Chancery Division and Family Division are ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, with the Family Division having has far more to do with the Crown Court's criminal business (since criminal trials often end up causing family trouble; not a few British legal dramas have made occasional forays into its precincts) and thus appearing appears in media far more often than Chancery (which mostly involves corporations and rich people suing each other over property, as well as tax cases).
23rd May '15 9:57:38 PM karstovich2
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* Red: High Court Judges. Sit alone hearing mega serious criminal trials with a jury (in the Queen's Bench Division), as well as high-value civil trials (also in the Queen's Bench Division), cases in chancery (in the Chancery Division), divorces and other family cases (in the Family Division), and appeals from the lower courts in criminal cases (in the Queen's Bench Division again). Known as 'Red Judges' they have elaborate fur cuffs and resemble Father Christmas when they've got their glad rags on. Typically drawn from the ranks of distinguished [=QCs=]; historically, this required nobbling the Lord Chancellor and his aides. Called 'My Lord' or 'My Lady'. Officially "Mr/Mrs Justice (surname)"

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* Red: High Court Judges. Sit alone hearing mega serious criminal trials with a jury (in the Queen's Bench Division), jury, as well as high-value civil trials (also in (in the Queen's Bench Division), cases in chancery (in the Chancery Division), divorces and other family cases (in the Family Division), and appeals from the lower courts in criminal cases (in the Queen's Bench Division again). Known as 'Red Judges' they have elaborate fur cuffs and resemble Father Christmas when they've got their glad rags on. Typically drawn from the ranks of distinguished [=QCs=]; historically, this required nobbling the Lord Chancellor and his aides. Called 'My Lord' or 'My Lady'. Officially "Mr/Mrs Justice (surname)"
23rd May '15 9:52:03 PM karstovich2
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* Black: Appeal Court Judges usually sit in threes and wear a black silk gown like [=QCs=]. Their wigs are not as curly as a barristers though. They are called 'My Lord' or 'My Lady'. Officially they are 'Lord Justices' and hear criminal appeals in the 'Queens Bench Division'.

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* Black: Appeal Court Judges usually sit in threes and wear a black silk gown like [=QCs=]. Their wigs are not as curly as a barristers barrister's though. They are called 'My Lord' or 'My Lady'. Officially they are 'Lord Justices' and hear criminal appeals in the 'Queens 'Queen's Bench Division'.



* Red: High Court Judges. Sit alone hearing mega serious criminal trials with a Jury. Known as 'Red Judges' they have elaborate fur cuffs and resemble Father Christmas when they've got their glad rags on. Typically drawn from the ranks of distinguished [=QCs=]; historically, this required nobbling the Lord Chancellor and his aides. Called 'My Lord' or 'My Lady'. Officially "Mr/Mrs Justice (surname)"
* Purple: Circuit (or 'circus' for a laugh) Judges who hear anything from theft to serious violent crimes with a Jury. Usually retired Barristers who couldn't make QC and have given up on the High Court Bench, and want a nice pension.

to:

* Red: High Court Judges. Sit alone hearing mega serious criminal trials with a Jury.jury (in the Queen's Bench Division), as well as high-value civil trials (also in the Queen's Bench Division), cases in chancery (in the Chancery Division), divorces and other family cases (in the Family Division), and appeals from the lower courts in criminal cases (in the Queen's Bench Division again). Known as 'Red Judges' they have elaborate fur cuffs and resemble Father Christmas when they've got their glad rags on. Typically drawn from the ranks of distinguished [=QCs=]; historically, this required nobbling the Lord Chancellor and his aides. Called 'My Lord' or 'My Lady'. Officially "Mr/Mrs Justice (surname)"
* Purple: Circuit (or 'circus' for a laugh) Judges (sitting in Crown Court--in criminal cases--or County Court--in civil ones) who hear anything from theft to serious violent crimes with a Jury. jury, as well as appeals from the magistrates' courts and civil cases with too low a monetary value for the High Court (including small claims). Usually retired Barristers barristers who couldn't make QC and have given up on the High Court Bench, and want a nice pension.
2nd Feb '15 3:17:49 PM karstovich2
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* The High Court of Justiciary: Generally called the High Court. Tries the most serious offences. There are permanent sittings in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and it is also a circuit court, visiting other Scottish cities and large towns. Always has a jury. Judges here are referred to as My Lord.

to:

* The High Court of Justiciary: Generally called the High Court. It's a peculiar court in that its members are always the same as those of Scotland's highest civil appeals court, the Court of Session, but the two courts are still legally distinct. Tries the most serious offences. There are permanent sittings in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and it is also a circuit court, visiting other Scottish cities and large towns. Always has a jury.jury when sitting as a trial court; however, it also sits as an appeals court for appeals from the lower criminal courts. Uniquely in the UK, there are no appeals from the High Court of Justiciary; every other court's decisions are subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, but not this one's. Judges here are referred to as My Lord.
24th Jan '15 10:48:47 PM Adept
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There is no substantive difference between Not Guilty and Not Proven - both mean you are legally innocent. Originally the two verdicts were 'Guilty' and 'Not guilty. However--according to traditional account--in the early 17th century, [[TheHouseOfStuart James VI of Scotland]] (also James I of England) faced a popular wave of rebellion by a Protestant sect called the "Covenanters", so he removed the right of juries to pronounce innocence and reduced them to finders of fact, giving them the verdicts 'Proven' and 'Not Proven'. However, in 1728, in the case of ''Carnegie of Findhaven'', the accused had accidentally killed the Earl of Strathmore, and the jury was persuaded by Carnegie's defence lawyer, Robert Dundas, to assert its "ancient right" to pronounce Carnegie "not guilty", as, while he patently performed the act accused of, they felt he had no moral guilt. After a while the original 'Proven' verdict was replaced by 'Guilty'. However, the 'Not Proven' verdict never went away and nowadays it has taken on a new meaning. Juries now use it to say that they think the defendant may well be guilty, but they can't be sure, whereas they often reserve the not guilty verdict for those they are more convinced is innocent. Regardless, the only way you become a criminal is if you are found 'Guilty'.

to:

There is no substantive difference between Not Guilty and Not Proven - both mean you are legally innocent. Originally the two verdicts were 'Guilty' and 'Not guilty. However--according to traditional account--in the early 17th century, [[TheHouseOfStuart [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfStuart James VI of Scotland]] (also James I of England) faced a popular wave of rebellion by a Protestant sect called the "Covenanters", so he removed the right of juries to pronounce innocence and reduced them to finders of fact, giving them the verdicts 'Proven' and 'Not Proven'. However, in 1728, in the case of ''Carnegie of Findhaven'', the accused had accidentally killed the Earl of Strathmore, and the jury was persuaded by Carnegie's defence lawyer, Robert Dundas, to assert its "ancient right" to pronounce Carnegie "not guilty", as, while he patently performed the act accused of, they felt he had no moral guilt. After a while the original 'Proven' verdict was replaced by 'Guilty'. However, the 'Not Proven' verdict never went away and nowadays it has taken on a new meaning. Juries now use it to say that they think the defendant may well be guilty, but they can't be sure, whereas they often reserve the not guilty verdict for those they are more convinced is innocent. Regardless, the only way you become a criminal is if you are found 'Guilty'.
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