Court

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This article is about courts of law. For alternative meanings see: court (disambiguation).
File:Old Bailey Microcosm edited.jpg
A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808-11).

A court is an official, public forum which a sovereign establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. In common law and civil law states, the courts are the central means for dispute resolution, and it is generally understood that all persons have a right to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, those accused of a crime have the right to present their defense before a court.

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[edit] Trial and appellate courts

Each state establishes the court system for the territory under its control. This system allocates work to the courts or authorized individuals by granting both civil and criminal jurisdiction (in the United States, this is termed subject-matter jurisdiction). The grant of power to each category of court or individual may stem from a provision of a written constitution or from an enabling statute. In English law, jurisdiction may be inherent, deriving from the common law origin of the particular court. For this purpose, courts may be classified as trial courts (sometimes termed "courts of first instance") and appellate courts. Some trial courts may function with a judge and a jury: juries make findings of fact under the direction of the judge who makes findings of law and, in combination, this represents the judgment of the court. In other trial courts, decisions of both fact and law are made by the judge or judges. Juries are less common in court systems outside the Anglo-American common law tradition.

In a common law system, appellate courts may be arranged in a hierarchy and their function is to review the decisions of trial courts (and of lower appellate courts) and, generally, they only address questions of law, i.e. whether the lower courts interpreted and applied the law correctly, or procedure. These hearings do not usually involve considering factual matters unless new evidence has come to light. Such factual evidence as is admitted will only be considered for the purposes of deciding whether the case should be remitted to a first instance court for a retrial unless, in criminal proceedings, it is so clear that there has been a miscarriage of justice that the conviction can be quashed.

[edit] Personal jurisdiction

In the United States, a court must have personal jurisdiction over a defendant to hear a case brought by a plaintiff against that defendant. There are three kinds of personal jurisdiction: in personam jurisdiction, in rem jurisdiction, and quasi in rem jurisdiction. A detailed discussion of personal jurisdiction is beyond the scope of this article; however, personal jurisdiction (in the United States) generally refers to the legal sufficiency of the connection between the defendant and the forum (the U.S. state) in which the court is located. See, for example, Pennoyer v. Neff. See also Minimum contacts and International Shoe v. Washington.

[edit] Civil law courts and common law courts

The two major models for courts are the civil law courts and the common law courts. Civil law courts are based upon the judicial system in France, while the common law courts are based on the judicial system in Great Britain. In most civil law jurisdictions, courts function under an inquisitorial system. In the common law system, most courts follow the adversarial system. Procedural law governs the rules by which courts operate: civil procedure for private disputes (for example); and criminal procedure for violation of the criminal law.


[edit] Tribunal

See arbitration.


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[edit] See also

[edit] General

[edit] Court terminology

[edit] Types and organization of courts

[edit] External links

de:Gericht es:Tribunal de justicia fr:Tribunal nl:Rechtbank id:Pengadilan ja:裁判所 pl:Sąd (prawo) pt:Tribunal simple:Court sk:Súd sv:Domstol fi:Tuomioistuin zh:法院 he:בית משפט

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