A court is an official, public forum which a public power establishes by lawful authority to adjudicate disputes, and to dispense civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. In common law countries, the courts are the central means for dispute resolution, and it is generally understood that all persons have a right to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, those accused of a crime have the right to present their defenses before a court.


Types of courts

Some courts may function with a jury that make decisions about the facts before the court under the direction of the judge; in other courts, decisions of both fact and law are made by the judge or judges, this is particularly common in appellate courts where juries are unusual in most jurisdictions. Juries are far less common in courts outside the Anglo-american common-law based legal tradition.

The extent of a court's power (authority) to hear the various matters which come before its "jurisdiction" — may stem from a provision of a written constitution, from an enabling statute or, for example in English law, it may be inherent, deriving from the Common Law origin of the court.

Civil law courts

In most civil law jurisdictions, courts function under an inquisitorial system. In the common law-system most courts follow the adversarial system. Procedural law governs the rules by which courts operate: civil procedure for private disputes (for example); and criminal procedure for violation of the criminal law.


Most courts conduct their official business in a courtroom, a physical space designed to accommodate the purposes of having arguments and evidence presented before a judge and, if applicable, a jury.

Both uni-personal and pluri-personal courts exist. The various matters which come before a pluri-personal court usually come into the ambit of a particular judge, or of a judicial officer (such as a court commissioner) serving in the capacity of a judge pro tem. Every court has a presiding judge and may have one or more other judges and/or judicial officers assigned to various court departments.

See also


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools