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COURTS AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

INTRODUCTION

HM Courts & Tribunals Service was created on 1 April 2011. It brings together HM Courts Service & Tribunals Service into one integrated agency providing support for the administration of justice in courts and tribunals.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is an agency of the Ministry of Justice. It uniquely operates as a partnership between the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Senior President of Tribunals as set out in our Framework Document.

The agency is responsible for the administration of the criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales and non-devolved tribunals in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It provides for a fair, efficient and effective justice system delivered by an independent judiciary.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service aims to ensure that all citizens receive timely access to justice according to their different needs, whether as victims or witnesses of crime, defendants accused of crimes, consumers in debt, children at risk of harm, businesses involved in commercial disputes or as individuals asserting their employment rights or challenging the decisions of government bodies.The agency’s work is overseen by a Board headed by an independent Chair working with non-executive, executive and judicial members. The Board ensures that the agency delivers the aims and objectives set by the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Senior President of Tribunals.

COUNTY COURTS

The county court also referred to as the small claims court, deals with civil matters, such as:

  • Claims for debt repayment, including enforcing court orders and return of goods bought on credit
  • Personal injury
  • Breach of contract concerning goods or property
  • Family issues such as relationship breakdown or adoption
  • Housing disputes, including mortgage and council rent arrears and re-possession

COUNTY COURT MONEY CLAIMS CENTRE

The County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC) deals with designated money claims providing a critical supporting service to the county courts.

The work done includes issue, entry of judgement, acknowledgements of service, defences and processing completed allocation questionnaires. If at any stage an oral hearing is required the claim will be transferred to a local county court. The CCMCC will also issue warrants of execution on designated money claims where judgement has been entered at the centre.

MAGISTRATES’¬† COURTS

Magistrates’ courts are a key part of the criminal justice system and 97% of cases are completed there. In addition¬† magistrates’ courts deal with many civil cases e.g. anti-social behaviour, public health and are responsible for the enforcement of fines and community punishments. Where cases require a penalty greater than the magistrates’ sentencing powers, cases will be sent to the Crown Court.

THE HIGH COURT

The High Court deals with higher level civil disputes within three divisions, the Queen’s Bench Division, the Chancery Division, the Family Division and it deals with other jurisdictions including the Administrative Court.

The High Court sits at the Royal Courts of Justice

THE CROWN COURT

The Crown Court deals with more serious criminal cases such as murder, rape, or robbery, some of which are on appeal or referred from magistrates’ courts Trials are heard by a Judge and a 12 person jury. Members of the public are selected for jury service or may have to go to court as witnesses. Crown Court cases originate fro magistrates’s courts.

www.justice.gov.uk/about/hmcts