High court and county court

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  • English court structure
    • County court
      • There are around 230 county courts
      • County court can try nearly all civil cases
        • All contract and tort claims
        • All cases for the recovery of land
        • Disputes over partnerships, trusts and inheritance up to a value of £30,000
        • Some county courts may have the jurisdiction to hear divorce cases, bankruptcy cases, low-level claims in admiralty and matters under the race relations act 1976
      • Can try small claims, fast track and multi-track cases
        • Workload is much more than the high court
        • Cases will nearly always be heard in open court and members of the public are entitled to attend
          • The winner of a case may claim costs, including the cost of legal representation
            • County court is more  expensive than in the small claims track
    • High  court
      • Based in london
      • Has the power to hear any civil case
      • Has three divisions, each of which specialises in hearing certain types of cases
        • Queens bench division
          • Deals with contract and tort cases where the amount claimed is over £50,000
          • Commercial court
            • This is a special court which is part of the queens bench division
              • Has specialist judges to deal with insurance, banking and other commercial matters
                • In this court a simplified speedier procedure is used and the case may be decided on documentary evidence
          • Admiralty court
            • Deals with shipping and deciding such matters as claims for damage caused by collision at sea
              • Also decides disputes over salvage rights when a ship is abandoned at sea
        • Chancery division
          • The chancellor of the high court is the head of the division
          • The main business of this division involves disputes concerned with such as -
            • Insolvency for both companies and individuals
            • The enforcement of mortgages
            • Disputes relating to trust property
            • Copyrights and patents
            • Intellectual property matters and contested probate action
          • There is a special companies court in the division which deals mainly with winding up comapnies
        • Family division
          • The head of this division is the president and 19 high court judges are assigned to this division
          • Has the jurisdiction to hear wardship cases and all cases relating to children under the children act 1989
            • Also deals with matters regarding the family, such as declarations of nullity of marriage and grants probate in non-contentious probate cases
          • Cases heard by a single judges
            • Juries are not used in this division
      • Cases in the high court are expensive and can take a long time
  • Disputes over partnerships, trusts and inheritance up to a value of £30,000
  • Despite the large total number of claims issued, only a very small number of cases actually proceed to a trial
    • County court
      • There are around 230 county courts
      • County court can try nearly all civil cases
        • All contract and tort claims
        • All cases for the recovery of land
        • Some county courts may have the jurisdiction to hear divorce cases, bankruptcy cases, low-level claims in admiralty and matters under the race relations act 1976
      • Can try small claims, fast track and multi-track cases
        • Workload is much more than the high court
        • Cases will nearly always be heard in open court and members of the public are entitled to attend
          • The winner of a case may claim costs, including the cost of legal representation
            • County court is more  expensive than in the small claims track

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