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Study Notes

Appellate Court

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The Appellate court is the part of the judicial system responsible for hearing and reviewing appeals relating to legal cases that have been heard already in a trial-level or other lower court.

In the UK the appellate court is known as the Court of Appeal and is the second most senior court in the legal system, with only the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom above it.

The Court of Appeal was established in 1875 and consists of 38 Lord Justices who operate in two divisions: The Criminal Division (Headed by the Lord Chief Justice), and the Civil Division (Headed by the Master of the Rolls).

The structure of the courts of appeal reflects the different types of law, although it is sometimes the case that the same action can give rise to both types of legal case:

  • CRIMINAL LAW is there to defend society as a whole. The aim is to punish offenders. Cases are brought by "The Crown" (the Prosecution): hence “Crown vs. Jones”, etc.
  • CIVIL LAW is there to regulate relations between individuals, or groups. The aim is to redress grievances, by getting compensation, or modifying behaviour. Cases are brought by the injured party (the Plaintiff) against the injurer (the Defendant): hence "Smiths vs. Jones", “United Biscuits PLC vs. National Union of Shopworkers”, etc.

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