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United Kingdom Law: Judiciary


There are lots of different types of judges sitting within England and Wales, all in different courts and tribunals and with different roles and powers.  There are 3 main jurisdictions civil, criminal and family and in these sections there are judges, magistrates and those that sit on tribunals.

Judges sit in different courts depending on seniority.
Circuit judges are appointed to one of 7 regions within England and Wales and these sit in the Crown and County courts within that region. 
District judges are full time judges who deal with the majority of cases in the county courts. 
High Court judges are appointed to one of the 3 divisions of the High Court: Chancery, King's Bench or Family. 
The Court of Appeal judges sit in one of  2 divisions of the Court of Appeal, Civil or Criminal Division, the majority are called Lord Justices of Appeal and you will often hear them referred to as Lord or Lady. 
The highest court of appeal in the UK is the Supreme Court (formally the House of Lords) and in this court there are 12 justices.  The number of justices that sit to hear a case varies but it must always be an odd number. 

After the changes in 2006 the Lord Chief Justice is responsible for deciding where judges sit and what cases they hear.  There is also a Judicial Executive Board to help govern and direct and this includes the  Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls, President of the King’s Bench Division, President of the Family Division, Chancellor of the High Court, and two Lords Justices.

Legal Aid & Citizens' Advice

The Legal Aid Agency provide criminal and civil legal aid and advice in the UK.  More information can be found on their website which is below.