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Comparative Law Spring 2003 Professor Susanna Fischer. ENGLISH LEGAL SYSTEM ENGLISH LEGAL PROFESSION April 10, 2003. U.K.: Constitutional Hereditary Monarchy. Head of State – the Queen (Queen Elizabeth II)

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Comparative Law Spring 2003 Professor Susanna Fischer

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Comparative law spring 2003 professor susanna fischer

Comparative Law Spring 2003Professor Susanna Fischer

ENGLISH LEGAL SYSTEM

ENGLISH LEGAL PROFESSION

April 10, 2003


U k constitutional hereditary monarchy

U.K.: Constitutional Hereditary Monarchy

  • Head of State – the Queen (Queen Elizabeth II)

  • Appoints bishops to Church of England, Chief Justice, highest ranking members of armed forces

  • Ceremonial and integrating role

  • See: http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page1.asp


Uk parliamentary system westminster model

UK - PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM (Westminster Model)

  • Parliamentary systems, unlike presidential systems, typically do not have a separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

  • Prime Minister (chief executive) is usually elected to the legislature like other members. PM is leader of the party that wins the majority of votes to the legislature (either de facto, or in some cases through an election held by the legislature).

  • For link to FAQ on Parliament see: http://www.parliament.uk/faq/faq.cfm


Parliamentary systems

PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMS

  • Prime Minister appoints Cabinet Ministers who are generally legislative members from the ruling party or ruling coalition.

  • Thus, in a parliamentary system, the constituency of the executive and legislature are the same. If the ruling party is voted out of the legislature, the executive also changes.

  • Need for cooperation between executive/legislative for govt to survive and operate effectively.


Cabinet

CABINET

  • Meets once a week in 10 Downing Street

  • See list of ministers in Her Majesty’s Government at: http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page1371.asp


Prime minister

PRIME MINISTER

  • Tony Blair

  • MP for Sedgfield

  • Leader of Labor party

  • Election after 18 years in Opposition (age 43)

  • Won again in 2001 and 2005

  • Wife: barrister Cherie Booth QC

  • See: http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/page4.asp


English court system

English Court system

  • Magistrates Courts (1,000)

  • Justices of the Peace (30,000), Clerks, District Judges (130)


Magistrates powers

Magistrates’ Powers

  • Can normally only order sentences of imprisonment of up to 6 months, or fines of up to £ 5,000


County courts

County Courts

  • 218 in England and Wales

  • Small civil cases, e.g 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 divorce or adoption

  • Housing disputes, including mortgage and council rent arrears and re-possession g.


County courts1

County courts

  • General hears civil cases

  • Personal injury up to £ 50,000

  • Property cases up to £ 30,000


High court

High Court

  • Royal Courts of Justice: Strand

  • Chancery Division

  • Queens Bench Division

  • Probate Division


Crown court

Crown Court


Court of appeal

Court of Appeal


House of lords

House of Lords

  • Privy Council

  • New Supreme Court (Constitutional Reform Act 2005)


English legal profession

English Legal Profession

  • Judiciary

  • Solicitors

  • Barristers


English legal profession1

English Legal Profession

  • Judiciary

  • Solicitors

  • Barristers

  • Compare judicial selection to the French system and the U.S. system – Constitutional Reform Act 2005

  • How are judges trained in England?

  • How can a judge’s appointment be terminated? How can judges be disciplined?


Judicial independence in england

Judicial Independence in England?

  • What are some of the main questions that have been raised about judicial independence?


Questions concerning judicial independence

Questions Concerning Judicial Independence

  • Narrowness of ethnic background, sex, and age of judges

  • Secretive and discriminatory appointment process

  • Limited training

  • Insufficient procedures for criticism and dismissal

  • Political system limits judicial independence

  • Right-wing bias?

  • Influence of Freemasonry

  • Lack of specialization


English judiciary

English Judiciary

  • See Charles Yablon, Wigs, Coifs and Other Idiosyncracies of English Judicial Attire, Cardozo at: http://www.cardozo.net/life/spring1999/wigs/


The lord chancellor

The Lord Chancellor

  • Lord Irvine of Lairg


Major types of english lawyers

MAJOR TYPES OF ENGLISH LAWYERS

  • Solicitors

  • Barristers

  • There are also Public Notaries, who are solicitors or law students who pass the Notarial Practice exam and undertake a period of supervision


Barristers

BARRISTERS

  • How many barristers are in private practice in England and Wales?

  • What is the function of a barrister?

  • What is a QC?

  • Governing body: Bar Council – see http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/

  • What legal work do barristers do?


Chambers

CHAMBERS

  • What are Chambers?


Inns of court

INNS OF COURT

  • What are the Inns of Court?

  • Middle Temple

  • Inner Temple

  • Gray’s Inn

  • Lincoln’s inn


Inner temple garden

INNER TEMPLE GARDEN


Inner temple croquet

INNER TEMPLE CROQUET

  • Members wishing to play croquet should collect the keys to the garden and the croquet shed from the Gardener. You should sign your name down when you take the key.


How does one become a barrister

HOW DOES ONE BECOME A BARRISTER?


3 training stages

3 TRAINING STAGES

  • ACADEMIC

  • VOCATIONAL

  • PUPILLAGE


Solicitors

SOLICITORS

  • How many solicitors are in practice in England and Wales? (Remember! Scotland has its own legal system)

  • Most work in private practice; some also work as employed solicitors for the Government, the Crown Prosecution Service, or a commercial/industrial organization

  • What is the function of a solicitor?


Becoming a solicitor

BECOMING A SOLICITOR

  • How do you become a solicitor?

  • GCSE/3 ”A” Levels

  • University (Law Degree or Not)

  • If no law degree, CPE/Diploma in Law

  • Legal Practice Course (“LPC”)

  • Training Contract

  • DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE A UNIVERSITY DEGREE TO BECOME A SOLICITOR?

  • Can solicitors become judges?


Civil justice system

CIVIL JUSTICE SYSTEM

  • Recent major reforms


English civil procedure

ENGLISH CIVIL PROCEDURE

  • Major reforms to the Civil Procedure Rules came into effect in April 1999


History of the change

HISTORY OF THE CHANGE

  • 1994 Lord Mackay of Clashfern (Lord Chancellor) appoints Lord Woolf to carry out inquiry into system of civil justice


2 woolf reports

2 WOOLF REPORTS

  • “Access to Justice” (June 1995)

  • “Access to Justice” (July 1996)

  • What problems did Lord Woolf see with the English civil justice system (in 1996 report)?


Woolf criticisms of english civil justice

WOOLF: CRITICISMS OF ENGLISH CIVIL JUSTICE

  • High costs – ordinary people could not afford justice

  • Excessive Delay

  • Injustice – unequal bargaining positions leading to unfair settlements, tactical manoeuvring, too much emphasis on oral evidence, difficulties in enforcement,

  • Too much complexity


Civil justice system1

CIVIL JUSTICE SYSTEM

  • Major reforms spearheaded by Lord Woolf – “a new landscape for civil justice for the twenty-first century”. Access to Justice report 1996 and implementation of reforms in April 1999

  • What changes did these reforms introduce?

  • Are these reforms successful?

  • Is the civil justice system moving to an inquisitorial system?


Overriding objective civil procedure rules r 1 1

OVERRIDING OBJECTIVE - Civil Procedure Rules r. 1.1

  • Simplify litigation

  • save costs

  • reduce litigation and litigation delays

  • Be fair

  • Proportionality

  • In other words, change litigation culture…


Civil procedure rules plain english

CIVIL PROCEDURE RULES: PLAIN ENGLISH?

  • Many changes to terminology, which were designed to simplify: e.g. Plaintiff is now Claimant, Discovery is now Disclosure, Statement of Claim (High Court) is now Particulars of Claim, Pleadings are now Statements of Case


Culture of co operation

CULTURE OF CO-OPERATION

  • Letters before action

  • pre-action disclosures

  • Pre-action protocols

  • Case management

  • Part 36 offers to settle

  • ADR


Judicial case management

JUDICIAL CASE MANAGEMENT

  • 3 tracks (small claims, fast, multi-track)

  • Sanctions

  • Costs – “English rule” not always followed


What do you think of the changes to the english system

What do you think of the changes to the English system?


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