A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution
, with the authority
to adjudicate legal dispute
s between parties
and carry out the administration of justice
, and administrative
matters in accordance with the rule of law
In both common law
and civil law legal system
s, courts are the central means for dispute resolution
, and it is generally understood that all people have an ability to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, the rights of those accused
of a crime include the right to present a defense
before a court.
The system of courts that interprets and applies the law
is collectively known as the judiciary
. The place where a court sits is known as a venue
. The room where court proceedings occur is known as a courtroom
, and the building as a courthouse
; court facilities range from simple and very small facilities in rural communities to large buildings in cities.
The practical authority given to the court is known as its jurisdiction
(from Latin , from , "of the law," + , "to declare," + , ''noun-forming suffix''), the court's power to decide certain kinds of questions or petitions put to it. According to William Blackstone
's ''Commentaries on the Laws of England
,'' a court (for civil wrongs
) is constituted by a minimum of three parties: the or plaintiff
, who complains of an injury done; the or defendant
, who is called upon to make satisfaction for it; and the or judicial power, who is to examine the truth of the fact, determine the law arising upon that fact, and, if any injury appears to have been done, ascertain and by its officers
apply a legal remedy
. It is also usual in the superior courts to have barristers, and attorneys or counsel, as assistants, though, often, courts consist of additional barristers, bailiff
, and perhaps a jury.
The term "the court" is also used to refer to the presiding officer
or officials, usually one or more judge
s. The judge or panel of judges may also be collectively referred to as "the bench
" (in contrast to attorneys
s, collectively referred to as "the bar
In the United States, the legal authority of a court to take action is based on personal jurisdiction
over the parties to the litigation and subject-matter jurisdiction
over the claims asserted.
The word ''court'' comes from the French , an enclosed yard, which derives from the Latin form , the accusative case of , which again means an enclosed yard or the occupants of such a yard. The English word ''court'' is a cognate of the Latin word from Ancient Greek () (meaning "garden", hence horticulture and orchard), both referring to an enclosed space.
The meaning of a judicial assembly is first attested in the 12th century, and derives from the earlier usage to designate a sovereign and his entourage, which met to adjudicate disputes in such an enclosed yard. The verb "to court", meaning to win favor, derives from the same source since people traveled to the sovereign's court to win his favor.
Jurisdiction is defined as the official authority to make legal decisions and judgements over a person or material item within a territory.
"Whether a given court has jurisdiction to preside over a given case" is a key question in any legal action.
Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School.
Three basic components of jurisdiction are personal jurisdiction
over an individual or thing (), jurisdiction over the particular subject matter (subject-matter jurisdiction
) and territorial jurisdiction
Jurisdiction over a person refers to the full authority over a person regardless on where they live, jurisdiction over a particular subject matter refers to the authority over the said subject of legal cases involved in a case, and lastly territorial jurisdiction is the authority over a person within an x amount of space.
Other concepts of jurisdiction include general jurisdiction
, exclusive jurisdiction
, appellate jurisdiction
, and (in the United States federal courts
) diversity jurisdiction
Trial and appellate courts
s are courts that hold trial
s. Sometimes termed "courts of first instance", trial courts have varying original jurisdiction
. Trial courts may conduct trials with juries as the finders of fact
(these are known as jury trial
s) or trials in which judges act as both finders of fact and finders of law
(in some jurisdictions these are known as bench trial
s). Juries are less common in court systems outside the Anglo-American
common law tradition.
s are courts that hear appeal
s of lower courts and trial courts.
Some courts, such as the Crown Court
in England and Wales may have both trial and appellate jurisdictions.
Civil law courts and common law courts
The two major legal traditions of the western world are the civil law courts and the common law courts. These two great legal traditions are similar, in that they are products of western culture although there are significant differences between the two traditions. Civil law courts are profoundly based upon Roman Law, specifically a civil body of law entitled "Corpus iuris civilis
This theory of civil law was rediscovered around the end of the eleventh century and became a foundation for university legal education starting in Bologna, Italy and subsequently being taught throughout continental European Universities.
Civil law is firmly ensconced in the French and German legal systems. Common law courts were established by English royal judges of the King's Council after the Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066.
The royal judges created a body of law by combining local customs they were made aware of through traveling and visiting local jurisdictions.
This common standard of law became known as "Common Law". This legal tradition is practiced in the English and American legal systems. In most civil law jurisdictions, courts function under an inquisitorial system
. In the common law system, most courts follow the adversarial system
. Procedural law
governs the rules by which courts operate: civil procedure
for private disputes (for example); and criminal procedure
for violation of the criminal law. In recent years international courts are being created to resolve matters not covered by the jurisdiction of national courts. For example, The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, in The Kingdom of The Netherlands or The Court of Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services), based in India.
Court television shows
Television show courts, which are not part of the judicial system and are generally private arbitrators
, are depicted within the court show
genre; however, the courts depicted have been criticized as misrepresenting real-life courts of law and the true nature of the legal system.
Notable court shows include:
* ''Judge Judy
* ''Paternity Court
* ''The People's Court
* ''Judge Mathis
* ''Judge Alex
* ''Judge Joe Brown
* ''Eye for an Eye
* ''Judge Rinder
* ''Ace Attorney
* International judicial institution
* International Criminal Court
* International Court of Arbitration
Types and organization of courts
* Administrative court
* Constitutional court
* Court of Faculties
* Court of record
* Courts of England and Wales
* Ecclesiastical court
* Equity court
* Family court
* High Court of Justiciary
* Revolutionary Tribunal
* Scots Law
* Scottish Court Service
* Supreme court
US federal courts
* ttp://www.justice.gov.uk/about/hmcts/index.htm HM Courts and Tribunals Service (England and Wales)Netherlands Commercial Court
information about the commercial court in The Netherlands (Europe).