How does the Court System work in the UK?
Posted on 24th January 2020
As the UK looks on at the Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump, arguably the most high-profile Trial to take place in recent history, along with the never-ending stream of legal dramas on TV, people could be forgiven for thinking that attending Trial is one of the most exciting, or terrifying, prospects they could face.
From Mr Trump’s claims that the Trial is a “hoax” and a “witch-hunt” to the Democrats’ assertions that the Trial is a necessary process (which many agree is doomed to fail due to the fact that the “Jury” consists of over 50% of Mr Trump’s own party) to the pictures and stories of evidence being blocked and witnesses silenced, the whole process appears to be one long bitterly contested argument. Many people have visions of a contentious, crowded room with lots of people shouting “objection”, the Judge banging a gavel and shouting to demand “order” and of solicitors or barristers haranguing witnesses until they admit the truth.
The actual truth, most Trials, particularly at the Civil level, in County Courts, take place in very quiet rooms, with only a handful of people in attendance. County Court is the one people are most likely to find themselves in, most usually because of a claim for money including personal injury claims, family and children’s matters or a dispute with a landlord. Small Claim Track, also known by many as “Small Claims Court” is usually conducted by individuals and Trials can have as few as three participants, a Claimant, a Defendant and the District Judge.
Most Civil claims that MG Legal, your local solicitors in Lancaster, act on are those on the Fast Track, this is the usual Track or “protocol” that claims are handled in and is suitable for any personal injury claim valued at £1000.00-£25,000.00 and any claim for money valued at £10,000.00 or more. Family and Children’s proceedings are handled in the separate, more flexible, Family Court, although this is usually within the same building, it being a department of the County Court. Whilst the sums of money in dispute are generally significant (after all, who has £10,000.00 to spare?) the proceedings are viewed by the Court as standard and there is little of any true excitement that occurs.
Should you have to attend Trial, as a Claimant, Defendant or witness, you will likely spend a lot of time waiting or watching and a relatively short time giving evidence. You will be asked questions by both parties’ representatives, usually a solicitor or barrister, in a conversational tone and once answered, another question will be asked until your evidence is complete. It is rare for parties to interrupt each other, shouting is very much rarer and “order” never needs to be restored.
Trials are as much a test of the preparedness of both parties and the legal strength of the arguments, as the evidence of the witnesses. MG Legal, your local solicitors in Lancaster, know that the best way to succeed in a case is to avoid Trial by making sure the opposition solicitor concedes defeat long before Proceedings are issued or the Trial date is set. We work hard to ensure that every case that can be settled prior to Trial, is settled, by building a strong case from the start that the opponent clearly sees cannot be successfully contested.
In the rare event you have to go to Trial, MG Legal, your local solicitors in Lancaster, will ensure that you are well prepared and that you are represented by the most suitable solicitor or barrister. Whilst the prospect may still be daunting, the day itself will not be as anywhere near as sensational as an Presidential Impeachment Trial and you will simply be required to tell the truth and allow the Court to do its’ job in deciding the matter on the evidence before it. Statistically, the overwhelming prospect is that you will not need to attend Court for most matters, although Family cases are more likely to do so, with well over 9/10 of all Civil cases handled by our offices settling prior to Trial and usually before County Court proceedings are issued at all.
MG Legal, your local solicitors in Lancaster, have departments that deal with Personal Injury, Family Law including Child Matters, Conveyancing, Wills and Probate and General Civil Litigation. We look to handle all Personal Injury cases on a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) and offer fixed fees for all other matters. Please get in touch to discuss your matter and one of our team will be pleased to help you and direct your enquiry to the relevant department.
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