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Flashcards in The UK Legal System Deck (10)
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How can citizens participate in the English Legal System?

Citizens can participate in the following ways:
- They can do jury service
- Be a magistrate
- Witness
- Member of a tribunal
- Becoming special constables
- Member of neighborhood watch
- Standing for election
- As a police and crime commissioner
- They can be a victim


What is the Citizens Advice Office?

Many people especially those with limited means and if the issue is a civil dispute, will visit their local Citizens Advice Office to seek free legal advice.


What are the three main branches of legal professions?

Legal executives, solicitors and barristers.


What is a legal executive?

- They are legally qualified professionals employed largely by solicitors and normally specialise in a given area of law.
- They are regulated by the Institute of Legal Executives.


What are solicitors?

- They undertake most of the work in Magistrates' Courts and County Courts, both the preparation of the case and its advocacy.
- They also deal with a large amount of commercial work, land and building issues and the conveyancing of houses, making wills and advising on tax matters.
- Many are graduates with a law degree.
- They must undertake professional training of a one-year legal practice course and then two years under training in a solicitors' practice.
- They are regulated by the Law Society.


What are barristers?

- There traditional work has been advocacy.
- They present cases in court.
- A barrister is briefed (employed) by a solicitor to work on the solicitor's client's behalf.
- Barristers are independent of the solicitor and pursue their own judgement about how to proceed with the case.
- They can work in a Magistrates' Court, but they mainly work in Crown Courts, the High Court or in the appeal court.
- They are normally specialists in a specific area of law, either civil or criminal. Most barristers are law, graduates and they have to undergo training by undertaking the Bar Vocational Course and then pupillage with a qualified barrister.
- Most senior barristers apply to become Queen's Councel (QCs).
- Barristers work for themselves, but often share chambers with other barristers.


What is criminal law?

- In a criminal law case the trial is held in a Magistrates' Court for minor matters or the Crown Court for more serious offences. The CPS brings criminal cases to court.
- In a criminal case, the charges must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, which means that the court must be absolutely sure of the guilt of the accused to be able to return a guilty verdict.


What is civil law?

- In a civil court the vast majority of cases do not involve a jury.
- Most civil cases are dealt with by County Courts. This includes small claims cases. However if the claim is more serious it will be forwarded to the High Court.
- Civil courts deal with personal injury claims, breaches of contract and other matters that arise between companies or individuals.


What is the difference between civil and criminal law?

- Criminal cases are brought on behalf of the state against the citizen for breaking the law of the land.
- On the other hand, however, civil cases relate to disputes between individuals or organisations and are resolved by the award of damages.


What does the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) do?

- In 1986, the CPS was established as a body independent from both the police and government to prosecute criminal cases in England and Wales.
- They work closely with the police, who make the initial arrest, and they decide whether the evidence is sufficient to charge the accused and what the charge should be.
- The CPS also prepare cases for court hearings and represent the state in Magistrates' Court and higher courts.