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Original jurisdiction is...

Courts power and authority to hear a dispute in the first instance. (Original criminal jurisdiction) includes summary offences in the Magistrates Court.


Committal hearings are..

Committal hearing are to attempt to have the charges dismissed by a Magistrate; to discover all of the evidence against you; and to find out further details surrounding the case so that you can prepare for your trial.


Court Hierarchy is: (from top to bottom)

1. High Court
2. Supreme Court (Court of Appeal)
3. Supreme Court (Trial Division)
4. County Court
5. Magistrates Court -> Coroners court, Children's court


Reasons for Court Hierarchy (list):

Specialisation, a Appeals, Doctrine of Precedent and Administrative Convenience


Specialisation (a Reasons for Hierarchy):

Courts become experts in hearing particular cases. The law is complex and with a hierarchy, courts become very efficient at applying the relevant law. Example The Family Court which has specialist knowledge on the Family Law Act 1975- custody.


Sanction is...

A legal punishment given to a person who has been found guilty of an offence (criminal law). The aim is to rehabilitate by using for example imprisonment to do so.


Committal Proceedings are:

Hearings to determine if sufficient evidence is apparent to warrant a trail in a higher court (Hierarchy court).


Appeals (Reasons for Hierachy):

A party (defandent/plaintiff/prosecution) in a trail is dissatisfied with the outcome, and redress in a higher court. This would involve re-trial. Example in correct application of the law, incorrect directions to the jury.


Doctrine of Precedent (Reasons for Hierachy):

Involves judges following previous decisions in future cases with similar facts. It is a practise whereby decisions of a higher court are binding, and must be followed by all lower courts in the same court hierarchy. (Binding precedent) Example is Donoghue vs Stevenson


Administrative Convenience (Reasons for Hierachy):

Cases are distributed accordingly to their seriousness. Each court has its own specific jurisdiction, allowing people to identify the appropriate court to which to take their dispute. The aim of such process is to increase efficiency in the court system by streaming the hearing of cases and directing them to particular courts in order to reduce both costs and delays.


Magistrates Court original and Appellate Jurisdiction:

Original- Summary offences, indictable offences heard summarily, Committal hearings.
Appellate- None


County Court Original and Appellate Jurisdiction:

Original- Indictable offences such as rape and armed robbery, theft (except murder, treason and certain murder-related offences.
Appellate- Single judge hears appeals against conviction or sentence from the Magistrates Court.


Supreme Court Original and Appellate Jurisdiction:

Original: Murder, attempted murder, treason
Appellate: Single judge hears appeals on points of law from the Magistrates Court. (Law has been applied/interpreted incorrectly)


Court of Appeal Original and Appellate Jursidcition:

Original: No original jurisdiction
Appellate: 3-5 justices hear appeals from a single judge in the County or Supreme Court, on points of law or conviction/sentence.


Advantages of a the Adversary System of Trail:

The truth should emerge though questioning of the witnesses- Both sides are starving to win. Both sides question the witness and try to show their case in the best light. During this process the truth should emerge.
Relies on oral evidence- Because witnesses are required to give oral evidence, judges, magistrates in juries are better able to see whether a witness is telling the truth.
Each party is in control of their own case- The parties are more likely to feel satisfied with the outcome if they are in control of running their own case. They may feel that they have done everything possible to win with battle.


Double Jeopardy:

A person cannot be tried for the same offence twice. I.e. Post an acquittal. However the Court of Appeal or D.P.P may allow a re-trial for the same offence if new evidence is found.


Disadvantages of the Adversary System of Trial:

Unequal representation- The parties to the case can be generally disadvantaged if their legal representatives is not well prepared.
The truth may not emerge- The process of questioning and cross-examination should bring out the truth but one party may be withholding vital evidence that is not known to the other side and that may not be brought out in the trial.
Oral evidence may lead to incorrect assumptions- Oral evidence depends on the witnesses being able to answer questions correctly and convincingly in court.