Civil Courts

A mind map of the Civil Courts.

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  • Civil courts
    • County court
      • The county court will try nearly all civil cases. The main areas of juristdiction are: small claims, that is a claim for less than £5,000; fast track cases between £5,00 and £25,000 and multitrack cases for over 25,000
      • All contract and tort claims. All cases for the recovery of land. Disputes over partnerships, trusts and inheritance ip to a value of £30,000
      • Cases in the county court are heard by a circuit judge or a district judge. On very rare occasions it is possible for the judge to sit with a jury of eight.
    • High court
      • high court is based in london but also has judges sitting in 26 towns and cities. It has the power to hear any civil cases and has three divisions, each of which specialises in hearing certain types of cases. These divisions are the Queen's bench division, the chancery division and the family division.
        • Queen's bench division: It deals with contract and tort cases usually where the amount claimed is over £50,000. However it is possible for a claiment to start action over £25,000. Cases are normally by a single judge but there is a right for a jury in some cases.
        • Chancery division: The main buisness of this division involves disputes concerned with such matters as: Insolvency, both for companies and invididuals, the enforcement of mortaged; the disputes relating to trust property; copyrights and parents; intellectual and property matters; contested probate actions.
  • Appeals from the county court: for all claims under £25,000 (this included both small claims and fast track) The appeal route depends on the level of judge hearing the case. This means that:
    • If the case was heard by a district judge, then the appeal is to a circuit judge in the same county court. If the case was heard by a circuit judge, then the appeal is to a high court judge.
    • Second appeals: This appeal will always be to the court of appeal. However they are only allowed in exeptional cases. "No appeal may be made to the court of appeal uness  a) the appeal would raise an important poin or b) There is some other compelling reason for the court to hear it. For claims over £25,000 the appeal is ALLWAYS at the court of appeal.


Charlotte Dodd


Smith E


The structure of the courts is something best illustrated, as this resource shows. The detail on value and divisions is particularly impressive.

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