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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 (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

government
institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior." Institutions can refer to social mechanism, mechanisms which govern the behavior of a set of individuals within a given community, and are ide ...
, with the
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
to
adjudicate Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbitration, arbiter or judge reviews evidence (law), evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants, to come to a decision which determines rights and ...
legal dispute A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes betw ...
s between
parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; cropped away black border edge.jpg, 300px, ''Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an ...
and carry out the
administration of justice The Administration of Justice is the process by which the legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law, common law, statutory law, religious law or combinations of these. ...
in
civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platform for independent journalism *Civilian, someone not a member ...
,
criminal In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...
, and
administrative Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes th ...
matters in accordance with the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the '' Oxford English Dictionary'' as " e authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a ...

rule of law
. In both
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or 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. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-use ...
and
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
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 b ...
s, courts are the central means for
dispute resolution Dispute resolution or dispute settlement is the process of resolving disputes between parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; cropped away black borde ...
, and it is generally understood that all people have an ability to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, the
rights of those accused Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal system, social conventi ...
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 enemy attacks * Defense industry, industry whic ...
before a court. The system of courts that interprets and applies the
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
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 court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authori ...
. The place where a court sits is known as a
venue Venue is the location at which an event takes place. It may refer to: Locations * Venue (law), the place a case is heard * Financial trading venue, a place or system where financial transactions can occur * Music venue, place used for a concert ...
. 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 t ...
, 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-speak ...

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 Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
(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 Sir William Blackstone (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily ...

William Blackstone
'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 or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-ju ...
,'' a court (for civil wrongs) is constituted by a minimum of three parties: the or
plaintiff A plaintiff ( Π in legal shorthand) is the party who initiates a lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affai ...
, who complains of an injury done; the or
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established f ...
, 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 An officer is a person who has a position of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It ...
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 mak ...
. 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, charge, office"; cf. bail, based on the adjectival form, baiulivus, of Latin ''bajulus'', carrier, manager) is a manager, overseer or custodian; a legal officer t ...
s,
reporters A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism. ...
, and perhaps a jury. The term "the court" is also used to refer to the
presiding officerIn a general sense, presiding officer is synonymous with chairperson. Politics *Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, the Speaker of the National Assembly for Wales *Presiding Officer of the Northern Ireland Assembly *Presiding Offic ...
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 so ...

judge
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, resea ...

barrister
s, collectively referred to as "the
bar Bar or BAR may refer to: Food *Bar (establishment) A bar is a long raised narrow table or bench designed for dispensing beer or other alcoholic beverage, alcoholic drinks. They were originally chest high, and a bar, often brass, ran the lengt ...
"). 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, which is jurisdiction over the ''law'' involved in the ...
over the parties to the litigation and
subject-matter jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction (also called jurisdiction ''ratione materiae')'' is the authority of a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes ...
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 organ ...
, 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, which is jurisdiction over the ''law'' involved in the ...
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 A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes ...
) and
territorial jurisdiction :''For an article concerning the powers of courts and public authority, see jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ''Wikt:dictio, dictio'' 'declaration') is the practical authority granted to a legal body to admin ...
. 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, and ...
,
exclusive jurisdiction In civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits (as opposed to procedures in criminal law matters). These rules govern how a lawsuit or case may be ...
,
appellate jurisdiction Appellate jurisdiction is the power of an appellate court to review, amend and overrule decisions of a trial court or other lower tribunal. Most appellate jurisdiction is legislatively created, and may consist of appeals by leave of the appellate ...
, 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 organized under the Constitution of the United States, United States Constitution and Law of the United States, laws of the fede ...
)
diversity jurisdiction In the law of the United States, diversity jurisdiction is a form of subject-matter jurisdiction in civil procedure in which a United States district court in the United States federal courts, federal judiciary has the power to hear a Civil law ( ...
.


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 adminis ...
s are courts that hold
trial In law, a trial is a coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information (in the form of evidence Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion, because evident things are undoubted. There are ...

trial
s. Sometimes termed "courts of first instance", trial courts have varying
original jurisdiction In common law legal systems original jurisdiction of 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 ...
. 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 lawful proceeding in which a jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial verdict (a finding of fact on a question) officially submitted to them by a court, or t ...
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 In law, a trial is a coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information (in the form of evidence Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion, because evident things ...
s). Juries are less common in court systems outside the
Anglo-American Anglo-Americans are people who are English-speaking inhabitants of Anglo-America Anglo-America (also referred to as Anglo-Saxon America) most often refers to a region in the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is ...
common law tradition.
Appellate court An appellate court, commonly called a court of appeal(s), 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 A trial court or court of first instance is ...
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 an ...
s of lower courts and trial courts. Some courts, such as the
Crown Court The Crown Court of England and Wales is, together with the High Court of Justice The High Court of Justice in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and 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 The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence s ...
". 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 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 th ...
. 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 A judge is a person who ...
.
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 A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudicatio ...
governs the rules by which courts operate:
civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environ ...
for private disputes (for example); and
criminal procedure Criminal procedure is the adjudication Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or 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 judg ...
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 A court show (also known as a judge show, legal/courtroom program, courtroom series, or judicial show) is a broadcast programming subgenre of either legal drama A legal drama, or a courtroom drama, is a genre of film and television that gener ...
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 ''Judge Judy'' is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by Judy Sheindlin. The show features Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small-claim disputes within a simulated courtroom set. Prior to the proceedings, all involv ...

Judge Judy
'' * ''
Paternity Court ''Lauren Lake's Paternity Court'' is a syndicated reality court show in which family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other ...
'' * ''
The People's Court ''The People's Court'' is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by retired Florida Florida (, ) is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. With a po ...
'' * ''
Judge Mathis ''Judge Mathis'' is an American syndicated arbitration-based reality court show A court show (also known as a judge show, legal/courtroom program, courtroom show, or judicial show) is a television programming subgenre of either legal drama ...
'' * '' Judge Alex'' * ''
Judge Joe Brown ''Judge Joe Brown'' is an American arbitration-based reality court show starring former Shelby County, Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The ...
'' * ''
Eye for an Eye "An eye for an eye" ( hbo, עַ֚יִן תַּ֣חַת עַ֔יִן) or the law of retaliation ( la, lex talionis) is the principle that a person who has injured another person is to be penalized to a similar degree by the injured party. In softe ...
'' * ''
Judge Rinder ''Judge Rinder'' is a British Court show#Arbitration-based reality court show, arbitration-based reality court show that has been on air on ITV (TV network), ITV since 11 August 2014. The show depicts Robert Rinder as an arbitrator overseeing ...
'' * ''
Ace Attorney ''Ace Attorney'' is a series of adventure video game legal dramas developed by Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It has created a number of List of best-selling video game franchises, multi-million-selling game f ...
'' * ''
Adaalat ''Adaalat'' () is an India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and depende ...
''


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 six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental ...

International Court of Justice
*
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and International court, international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands. The ICC is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction ...

International Criminal Court
*
International Court of Arbitration ICC International Court of Arbitration is an institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which govern the behavior Behavior (Ameri ...


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 of ...
*
Constitutional court in the building of the former Moravian Parliament in Brno '' (BVerfG) in Karlsruhe A constitutional court is a Supreme court, high court that deals primarily with constitutional law. Its main authority is to rule on whether laws that are chall ...

Constitutional court
* Commercial Court (disambiguation) *
Court of Faculties Under English ecclesiastical law, the Court of Faculties is a tribunal of the Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Angli ...
*
Court of record A court of record is a 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 ...
*
Court-martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority ...
*
Courts of England and Wales The courts of England and Wales, supported administratively by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, are the Civil law (common law), civil and Criminal law, criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales. ...
*
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 befor ...
*
Equity court A court of equity, equity court or chancery court is a court that is authorized to apply principles of Equity (law), equity, as opposed to those of law, to Legal case, cases brought before it. These courts began with petitions to the Lord Chancel ...
*
Family court Family court was originally created to be a Court of Equity A court of equity, equity court or chancery court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate ...
*
High Court of Justiciary The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of ...

High Court of Justiciary
*
Revolutionary Tribunal The Revolutionary Tribunal (french: Tribunal révolutionnaire; unofficially Popular Tribunal) was a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes ...
(
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in coup of 18 Brumaire, November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles ...

French Revolution
) *
Scots Law Scots law () is the List of country legal systems, legal system of Scotland. It is a hybrid or mixed legal system containing Civil law (legal system), civil law and common law elements, that traces its roots to a number of different historical ...
*
Scottish Court Service , type = , seal = , logo = 250px , logo_caption = , formed = , jurisdiction = Scotland , headquarters = Saughton House, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh EH11 3XD , employees = 1,374 , budget = £129.3 million (2015-2016) , chief1_name = Colin ...
*
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 just ...

Supreme court


References

{{Authority control *