The Legal System: People and Institutions (Courts (• Courts settle…
The Legal System: People and Institutions
• Courts settle disputes according to strict rules of evidence and procedure
• Court officials are responsible for the administration of the court and the efficient running of a case
• Judges have the ability to create law through the decisions they make when hearing a case: an act of precedent
• Most courts are open courts; people may enter and listen to the case
Parliament is our main law-making institution.
• It can make new laws and change existing ones.
• These laws are binding on all courts and judges.
• Parliament responds to pressures (lobbying, petitions, demonstrations etc.) to make new laws or change existing laws
• Prisons hold people convicted of a crime.
• Prison staff manage the prison.
• All offenders must be given the opportunity of rehabilitation.
• Imprisonment — loss of freedom — is the harshest form of punishment that can be imposed
Police do not make the laws; they only enforce the laws
• They also prevent and investigate crime, protect life and property and maintain peace and order
• Police assist in the prosecution of suspected offenders
• There are rules that outline police powers and how they do their job
• Lawyers (solicitors and barristers) provide legal advice and assistance
• They represent their clients and conduct their cases at a court hearing. This is their advocacy role.
• Their duty is to argue a case in the best interests of their clients