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A court is any person or institution, often as a
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government ...
institution Institutions are humanly devised structures of rules and norms that shape and constrain individual behavior. All definitions of institutions generally entail that there is a level of persistence and continuity. Laws, rules, social conventions a ...
, with the
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of Interpersonal ties, social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It use ...
to adjudicate
legal dispute A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case is typically based on either Civil law (common law), civil or criminal law. In most legal ca ...
s between parties and carry out the
administration of justice The administration of justice is the process by which the legal system of a government is executed. The presumed goal of such an administration is to provide justice for all those accessing the legal system. The phrase is also commonly used to d ...
in civil,
criminal In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It prescribes conduct perceived as thre ...
, and administrative matters in accordance with the
rule of law The rule of law is the political philosophy that all citizens and institutions within a country, state, or community are accountable to the same laws, including lawmakers and leaders. The rule of law is defined in the ''Encyclopedia Britannica ...
. In both
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
and civil law
legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law (legal system), civil law, common law, statutory law, religious law or combinations of these. However, the legal system of each country is shaped ...
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 Defense or defence may refer to: Tactical, martial, and political acts or groups * Defense (military), forces primarily intended for warfare * Civil defense, the organizing of civilians to deal with emergencies or enemy attacks * Defense industr ...
before a court. The system of courts that interprets and applies the
law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. ...
is collectively known as the
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
. The place where a court sits is known as a venue. The room where court proceedings occur is known as a
courtroom A courtroom is the enclosed space in which courts of law are held in front of a judge. A number of courtrooms, which may also be known as "courts", may be housed in a courthouse. In recent years, courtrooms have been equipped with audiovisual ...
, and the building as a
courthouse A courthouse or court house is a building that is home to a local court of law and often the regional county government as well, although this is not the case in some larger cities. The term is common in North America. In most other English-spe ...
; court facilities range from simple and very small facilities in rural communities to large complex facilities in urban communities. The practical authority given to the court is known as its
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin 'law' + 'declaration') is the legal term for the legal authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels. Jur ...
(from Latin , from , "of the
law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. ...
," + , "to declare," + , ''noun-forming suffix''), the court's power to decide certain kinds of questions or petitions put to it. According to
William Blackstone Sir William Blackstone (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist, judge and Tory (British political party), Tory politician of the eighteenth century. He is most noted for writing the ''Commentaries on the Laws of England''. Bo ...
's ''
Commentaries on the Laws of England The ''Commentaries on the Laws of England'' are an influential 18th-century treatise on the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-j ...
,'' a court (for civil wrongs) is constituted by a minimum of three parties: the or
plaintiff A plaintiff (pi (letter), Π in List of legal abbreviations, legal shorthand) is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an ''action'') before a court. By doing so, the plaintiff seeks a legal remedy. If this search is successful, the co ...
, who complains of an injury done; the or
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a Legal personality, person or object who is the Party (law), party either accused of committing a crime in Criminal procedure, criminal prosecution or against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in ...
, 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 A legal remedy, also referred to as judicial relief or a judicial remedy, is the means with which a court of law, usually in the exercise of Civil law (common law), civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a Sentence (law), penalty, or ma ...
. 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 A bailiff (from Middle English baillif, Old French ''baillis'', ''bail'' "custody") is a manager, overseer or custodian – a legal officer to whom some degree of authority or jurisdiction is given. Bailiffs are of various kinds and their offi ...
s, reporters, and perhaps a jury. The term "the court" is also used to refer to the presiding officer or officials, usually one or more
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...
s. The judge or panel of judges may also be collectively referred to as "the bench" (in contrast to attorneys and
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, rese ...
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 Personal jurisdiction is a court's jurisdiction over the ''parties'', as determined by the facts in evidence, which bind the parties to a lawsuit, as opposed to subject-matter jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction (also called jurisdict ...
over the parties to the litigation and
subject-matter jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction (also called jurisdiction ''ratione materiae')'' is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, bankruptcy court only has the authority ...
over the claims asserted.


Etymology

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

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.Jurisdiction
Legal Information Institute The Legal Information Institute (LII) is a non-profit, public service of Cornell Law School that provides no-cost access to current American law, American and international law, international legal research sources online alaw.cornell.edu The orga ...
, Cornell Law School.
Three basic components of jurisdiction are
personal jurisdiction Personal jurisdiction is a court's jurisdiction over the ''parties'', as determined by the facts in evidence, which bind the parties to a lawsuit, as opposed to subject-matter jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction (also called jurisdict ...
over an individual or thing (), jurisdiction over the particular subject matter (
subject-matter jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction (also called jurisdiction ''ratione materiae')'' is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, bankruptcy court only has the authority ...
) 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 {{Globalize, article, USA, 2name=the United States, date=December 2010 A court of general jurisdiction is a court with authority to hear cases of all kinds – criminal law, criminal, civil law (common law), civil, family law, family, probate, an ...
,
exclusive jurisdiction Exclusive jurisdiction exists in civil procedure if one court has the power to adjudicate a Legal case, case to the exclusion of all other courts. The opposite situation is concurrent jurisdiction (or non-exclusive jurisdiction) in which more th ...
,
appellate jurisdiction A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of t ...
, and (in the
United States federal courts The federal judiciary of the United States is one of the three branches of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the Federation#Federal go ...
)
diversity jurisdiction In the law of the United States, diversity jurisdiction is a form of subject-matter jurisdiction that gives United States federal courts, U.S. federal courts the power to hear lawsuits that do not involve a federal question jurisdiction, federal ...
.


Trial and appellate courts

Trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the admin ...
s are courts that hold
trial In law, a trial is a coming together of Party (law), parties to a :wikt:dispute, dispute, to present information (in the form of evidence (law), evidence) in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate claims or d ...
s. Sometimes termed "courts of first instance", trial courts have varying
original jurisdiction In common law (legal system), common law legal systems original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a higher court has the power to review a lower court's decision. ...
. Trial courts may conduct trials with juries as the finders of fact (these are known as
jury trial A jury trial, or trial by jury, is a legal proceeding in which a jury makes a decision or findings of fact. It is distinguished from a bench trial in which a judge or panel of judges makes all decisions. Jury trials are used in a signifi ...
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 A bench trial is a trial by judge, as opposed to a trial by jury. The term applies most appropriately to any administrative hearing in relation to a summary offense to distinguish the type of trial. Many legal systems ( Roman, Islamic) use b ...
s). Juries are less common in court systems outside the
Anglo-American Anglo-Americans are people who are English-speaking inhabitants of Anglo-America. It typically refers to the nations and ethnic groups in the Americas that speak English as a native language, making up the majority of people in the world who spe ...
common law tradition.
Appellate court A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of t ...
s are courts that hear
appeal In law, an appeal is the process in which cases are reviewed by a higher authority, where parties request a formal change to an official decision. Appeals function both as a process for error correction as well as a process of clarifying and ...
s of lower courts and trial courts. Some courts, such as the
Crown Court The Crown Court is the court of first instance of England and Wales responsible for hearing all Indictable offence, indictable offences, some Hybrid offence, either way offences and appeals lied to it by the Magistrates' court, magistrates' 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 The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Byzantine Emperors, Byzantine Emperor. It is also ...
". 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 An inquisitorial system is a legal system in which the court, or a part of the court, is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case. This is distinct from an adversarial system, in which the role of the court is primarily that of an ...
. In the common law system, most courts follow the
adversarial system The adversarial system or adversary system is a legal system used in the common law countries where two advocates represent their parties' case or position before an impartial person or group of people, usually a judge or jury, who attempt to dete ...
.
Procedural law Procedural law, adjective law, in some jurisdictions referred to as remedial law, or rules of court, comprises the rules by which a court hears and determines what happens in civil procedure, civil, lawsuit, criminal procedure, criminal or adminis ...
governs the rules by which courts operate:
civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law) ...
for private disputes (for example); and
criminal procedure Criminal procedure is the adjudication process of the criminal law. While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge with the person on trial either being free on bail or i ...
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: * '' Caso Cerrado'' * ''
Judge Judy ''Judge Judy'' is an American Court show#Arbitration-based reality court show, arbitration-based reality court show presided over by former Manhattan Family Court Judge Judy Sheindlin, Judith Sheindlin. The show featured Sheindlin as she adjudi ...
'' * '' Paternity Court'' * '' The People's Court'' * '' Judge Mathis'' * '' Judge Alex'' * '' Judge Joe Brown'' * ''
Eye for an Eye "An eye for an eye" ( hbo, עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן, ) is a commandment found in the Book of Exodus 21:23–27 expressing the principle of reciprocal justice measure for measure. The principle exists also in Babylonian law. In Roman c ...
'' * '' Judge Rinder'' * ''
Ace Attorney ''Ace Attorney'' is a series of visual novel A , often abbreviated as VN, is a form of digital interactive fiction, semi-interactive fiction. Visual novels are often associated with and used in the medium of video games, but are not alw ...
'' * ''
Adaalat ''Adaalat'' () is an Indian television courtroom drama anthology series about a defence attorney, K.D. Pathak, portrayed by Ronit Roy. First season of the show premiered on Sony on 20 November 2010 and ran for five years, ending on 11 July ...
''


International courts

* International judicial institution *
International Court of Justice The International Court of Justice (ICJ; french: Cour internationale de justice, links=no; ), sometimes known as the World Court, is one of the United Nations System#Six principal organs, six principal organs of the United Nations (UN). It s ...
*
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and International court, international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to pro ...
* International Court of Arbitration


Types and organization of courts

*
Administrative court An administrative court is a type of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration ...
* Constitutional court * Commercial Court (disambiguation) * Court of Faculties *
Court of record A court of record is a trial court or appellate court in which a record of the Legal case, proceedings is captured and preserved, for the possibility of appeal. A court clerk or a court reporter takes down a record of oral proceedings. That writ ...
*
Court-martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of memb ...
*
Ecclesiastical court An ecclesiastical court, also called court Christian or court spiritual, is any of certain courts having jurisdiction mainly in spiritual or religious matters. In the Middle Ages, these courts had much wider powers in many areas of Europe than be ...
* Equity court * Extraordinary court *
Family court Family courts were originally created to be a Court of Equity convened to decide matters and make orders in relation to family law, including child custody, custody of children, and could disregard certain legal requirements as long as the petiti ...
*
Lower court A lower court or inferior court is a court from which an Appeal (law), appeal may be taken, usually referring to courts other than supreme court. In relation to an appeal from one court to another, the lower court is the court whose decision is ...
*
Ordinary court Ordinary court or Judicial court is a type of court with general jurisdiction, comprehensive subject-matter jurisdiction compared to 'Specialized court' with limited jurisdiction over specific filed of matters, such as patent court, intellectual ...
* Specialized court *
Supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...


See also

*
Kangaroo court A kangaroo court is a court that ignores recognized standards of law or justice, carries little or no official standing in the territory within which it resides, and is typically convened ad hoc. A kangaroo court may ignore due process and come ...


References


External links

* * {{Authority control *