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The Absence of a Clear Separation of Powers in the UK

  • 07 Pages
  • Published On: 21-11-2023
Introduction

The proper distinction of separation of powers does not exist in the constitution of the United Kingdom. The judicial branch consists of the monarch and magistrates. The monarchs are the non-legitimately qualified individuals from the people in the general public while the magistrates are the lawfully qualified adjudicators. In England and Wales, there exist a common law system. In the common law system, the judges create the law dependent on the precedents. In England and Wales, the courts with trial jurisdiction in criminal cases are the superior courts, crown court and the magistrates' court.

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Court of Appeal

The highest court of appeal for England and Wales is the UK Supreme Court. The highest appellate court has been partitioned into two classifications Civil and Criminal. For the act of law, England and Wales have been partitioned into six unique circuits. The high court judges travel to these areas and make a decision. The six circuits are South Eastern, North Eastern, Midland, Northern, Wales and Western. The structure of the Supreme Court and the High Court are made out of the senior court of England and Wales. The topmost court has te main role to deal with questions on law that may have been put forward as an appeal before the Supreme Court. It is empowered to make the final judgment in cases of appeal in the whole of United Kingdom with respect to Civil as well as criminal cases from England, Wales and the Northern Ireland. The Supreme Court exercises a large impact on the public due its constitutional importance or high reaching matters affecting all citizens at the end.

Divisions in the Court of Appeal

There are both the divisions in the highest court of Appeal being Civil, Criminal and Administrative. The basic idea of the criminal court is to book and prosecute offenders committing any criminal offence as prohibited by the criminal laws. The second in that scheme incolves the Crown courts and offences of lesser degree is laid before the Magistrate courts.


  1. Rab, P., 2020. Legal Systems In The UK (England And Wales): Overview. [online] Uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com. Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2020].
  2. Hayes, K., 1986. System of justice: An introduction to the criminal justice system in England and Wales. Journal of Criminal Justice, 14(1), p.98.
  3. The Judicial System Of England And Wales A Visitor’S Guide. [ebook] Judicial officer international team. Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2020].

CRIMINAL DIVISION

Crown Courts

The Crown Court sits in the centres across England and Wales. They manage the indictable criminal offences, including severe criminal cases that are moved from the court of the magistrate. It also manages cases like murder, rape, robbery. Further, they have also been approved to manage with any appeals against a magistrates' court conviction or sentence or cases passed from a magistrates' court for trial or sentencing. By and large, in the primary case, the Magistrate court is enabled to hear all the criminal cases. In these courts, mostly the less severe cases and particularly those including minors in criminal cases are attempted. These courts are authorised to provide community sentences as well as prison sentences, including life imprisonment.

Magistrate courts

The Magistrate Courts trials deal with the least severe offences including motoring offences, drunk and disorderly. More serious offences such as burglary and possession illicit drugs which may be tried at Magistrates Court or Crown Court. The cases are dealt with by way of the magistrate issuing a summons, instructing the defendant to appear at court at a specified time/date - known as summary trials. If the defendant fails to appear, the magistrate issues an arrest warrant. For a summary trial to proceed, information must be given before the magistrates within six months of offence. The magistrates are generally unpaid and legally untrained – but they undergo a training course. Generally in the magistrate court, they sit as three magistrates. The Magistrates' courts always pass the most severe crimes to the Crown Court, also known as 'indictable offences'. It may punish for up to 6 months in prison or up to 12 months in total for more than one offence, or may also impose a fine. It may also provide a community sentence or a ban or a combination of both.


  1. GOV.UK. n.d. Criminal Courts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2020].
  2. Judiciary.uk. n.d. Magistrates. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2020].

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the autonomous public position liable for arraigning individuals in England and Wales who have been accused by the police of a criminal offence. It chooses if there is sufficient proof to go to court. When the police have finished their examinations, they allude the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for counsel on the best way to continue in everything except the most minor and routine cases. The CPS at this stage settles on whether a suspect ought to be charged, and the grounds of the basis of their charge. The CPS examiner peruses the document and thinks about the two tests in They set out the fundamental rules that Crown investigators must follow when settling on indictment choices. The examiner should initially choose whether or not there is sufficient proof against the respondent for a sensible possibility of conviction. On the off chance that the CPS concludes that there is a practical possibility of conviction, they should then consider whether it is in the public enthusiasm to indict the litigant.

Coroner's Court

The Coroner's Court is a specialist court that investigates sudden types of violent and unnatural deaths. They do this procedure by holding an inquest. The reasons for the death established gives rise to the evidence.

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Civil division

Clearly this division deals with matter civil in nature ranging from cases dealing with injury, any breah of contract in private contracts or the like. The cases of smaller claims are brought in the court but mostly are brought before either the County Court or High court which depends on the complications a legal facts may present along with the judges that are available and specialize in the particular case. The Cases requiring Appeal from the County Court may be referred to the High Court. If it is not satisfied, it may be shifted to the Court of Appeal in the Civil Division and finally may be heard by the Supreme Court.

Administrative Division

  1. Cps.gov.uk. 2020. CPS Says: The Role Of The CPS In Deciding Whether To Charge An Individual With A Criminal Offence | The Crown Prosecution Service. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2020].
  2. Bass, S. and Cowman, S., 2016. Anaesthetist's guide to the Coroner's Court in England and Wales. BJA Education, 16(4), pp.130-133.
  3. All Answers ltd, 'The Judiciary Lecture' (Lawteacher.net, November 2020) accessed 9 November 2020

. Administrative division is the last branch that deals with issues pertaining to the governmental decisions. The welfare and immigration tribunals speak loud volumes of the cases that appear in contradiction with the actions of all the administrative bodies.

HIGH COURT

More complicated and grave matters of civil nature is brought before the High Court at the first instance. The High Court does not have its power statuted therefore has an original and inherent jurisdiction. However, it is primarily divided into three major heads. The first one being the Queens’s Bench Division, being the biggest and covers many jurisdictions. It mostly handle civil cases like contrcts, tort wrongs, libel and slander etc. It covers many specialist courts as well : Technology & Construction, Commercial, , Mercantile Administrative Courts, AdmiraltyCourts. Secondly, the Chancery Division, deals with land law, covers the entire company law, conveyance and the likes. It also has some specialist courts namely, The Companies Court, The Patents Court and The Bankruptcy Court. Lastly, the Family division clearly deals with all kinds of family disputes ranging from marriage, divorce, alimony, children etc. along with undisputed instances of probate - the legitimate acknowledgment of the legitimacy of a will - through the Probate Registry of the Family Division across England and Wales.

In specific cases, there is a further course to bring about appeals past the UK Supreme Court. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) based in Luxembourg. Even though the United Kingdom is within the European Union, the CJEU is still operative for the laws governed by the United Kingdom. UK courts can and at times ought to allude challenged inquiries of EU law to the CJEU. The CJEU interprets the legal points based on the EU law and then delivers the case back for reference to the original authorities functioning domestically to clearly determine the facts. Until the Human Rights Act, 1998 is in existence then the decisions laid down by the European court on any issues of Human Rights shall be binding upon all the courts in United Kingdom.

The County Court

  1. ibid
  2. The Judicial System Of England And Wales A Visitor’S Guide. [ebook] Judicial officer international team. Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2020].
  3. Ibid

The county courts mainly involve cases that are not criminal in nature as well as do not function around family law. It works around cases where infringement of rights take place of an individual pertaining to businesses, be it recovering of money, or cases related to trespassing. The complexity of the cases decide whether it will be presented before the High Court but both the Circuit judges as well as District Court judges appear at the hearing centres.

The Family Court

As and when the Courts and Crime Act, 2013 came into being, the Family court was also established around that time in 2014, April. All levels of judiciary pertaining to family issues were seated at the same court be it the District Judges or the Circuit Judges, or Magistrate.The Family Proceedings Court was absolutely abolished and all family dispute cases were heard here. This helped in saving a lot resources, manpower and especially time which would otherwise be spent on transferring cases between suitable court with suitable jurisdictions.

The Right to Appeal

The accountability of judges is the most clear manner by which individual adjudicators are responsible through the privilege of the gathering to the procedures to claim any legal choice, now and again through a few higher courts. In this manner the losing party can have the choice explored by another free adjudicator or judges. The court deciding on an appeal will address blunders by the preliminary adjudicator and the right to appeal guarantees that, quite far, courts show up at right choices. The choices of redrafting courts are completely contemplated, broadly accessible and they don't generally go easy. It is fundamental that the right to appeal exist since it guarantees any erroneous law can be addressed and rectified In this sense the privilege of allure as a type of logical responsibility has two unmistakable (however covering) capacities, one private and one public. These were first noted by the Roman lawful researcher Justinian. The ultimate aim is to provide individual litigants a sense of assurance due to the accountability which enables and empowers any kind of blunders to be adjusted and upgrades the sense of certainty held by the public in the framework of equity. Not only does it secures the trust of today’s cases, it also can set directions for future cases as strong precedents in a upholding the rule of law.

The court of Appeal had come to the rescue of about 62 individuals in the year 2012 wherein tehir sentences saw an expansion by the Attorney General where only about 138,808, cases were laid before the Crown Court that very year. Even though these references do speak of the minority cases and does not substantially refers to the vast majority of appeals wherein individuals indicted of any criminal offence.This is in spite of the exceptionally solid analysis which is leveled at decided because sentences are deficiently serious.

Both the independence of the judiciary , judicial accountability and judicial review play large part in accommodating the concept of Appeals to such an extent to the topmost Court as discussed above.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Articles / Journals
  • Bass, S. and Cowman, S., 2016. Anaesthetist's guide to the Coroner's Court in England and Wales. BJA Education, 16(4), pp.130-133.
  • The Judicial System Of England And Wales A Visitor’S Guide. [ebook] Judicial officer international team. Available at: [Accessed 9th November 2020].
  • Hayes, K., 1986. System of justice: An introduction to the criminal justice system in England and Wales. Journal of Criminal Justice, 14(1), p.98.
Websites

  1. Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, “The Right to appeal”, < https://www.judiciary.uk/about-the-judiciary/the-judiciary-the-government-and-the-constitution/jud-acc-ind/right-2-appeal/> accessed on 9th November, 2020
  2. Ibid
  • Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, “The Right to appeal”, < https://www.judiciary.uk/about-the-judiciary/the-judiciary-the-government-and-the-constitution/jud-acc-ind/right-2-appeal/> accessed on 9th November, 2020
  • All Answers ltd, 'The Judiciary Lecture' (Lawteacher.net, November 2020) accessed 9 November 2020
  • GOV.UK. n.d. Criminal Courts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2020].
  • Judiciary.uk. n.d. Magistrates. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9th November, 2020].
  • Cps.gov.uk. 2020. CPS Says: The Role Of The CPS In Deciding Whether To Charge An Individual With A Criminal Offence | The Crown Prosecution Service. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9th November, 2020].
  • Rab, P., 2020. Legal Systems In The UK (England And Wales): Overview. [online] Uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com. Available at: [Accessed 3 October 2020].

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