The United Kingdom has three separate legal systems; one each for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Judiciary of England and Wales deals with the judiciary of England and Wales.
The justice system is one of the three branches of the state. The other two branches are the executive, or the government, and the legislature, which is the two Houses of Parliament. In most democracies these three branches of the state are separate from each other.
There are many different types of judges sitting in courts or tribunals, each hearing different types of cases, and with different powers to use when deciding the outcome of a case. Judges, magistrates and tribunal members sit in three main jurisdictions - civil, criminal and family.
The Lord Chief Justice decides where judges sit, and the type of cases they hear.
Civil court cases arise where an individual or a business believes their rights have been infringed.
Judges presiding over a criminal case are responsible for all matters of law and making sure that all the rules of procedure are properly applied.
Family judges deal with disputes involving parents about their children. They also deal with cases where local councils take action to remove children from their parents' care.
The constitutional position, function and history of the Judge Advocate General (JAG).
Tribunals deal with about one million cases a year, on a huge variety of issues such as disputes over tax, pensions or immigration.
The legal year traditionally begins in October and courts sit for four terms during the year.
The official website of the Judiciary of England and Wales features:
* Members of the public
Find out how the justice system works, what the different judges do, what to expect in court and how sentences are decided on.
* Teachers and tutors
Find out how the judicial system evolved, where different judges sit and what they do, and hear judges talk about their working lives.
* Legal professionals
Find out about judicial work-shadowing, applying for judicial appointment, key judgments, practice directions and speeches.
* Journalists and researchers
Media and Publications section for the latest judgments, media releases, speeches and publications.