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15 Facts About the High Court of Justice

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Her Majesty's High Court of Justice in England is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales.

Her Majesty's Courts of Justice of England and Wales are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales; they apply both English law and the law of England and Wales, and are established under Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, which form the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follow a single legal system, known as English law.

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Its name is abbreviated as EWHC for legal citation purposes.

Legal citation is the practice of crediting and referring to authoritative documents and sources.

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The High Court deals at first instance with all high value and high importance cases, and also has a supervisory jurisdiction over all subordinate courts and tribunals, with a few statutory exceptions.

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It has three main divisions: the Queen's Bench Division, the Chancery Division, and the Family Division.

The Queen's Bench is the superior court in a number of jurisdictions within some of the Commonwealth realms.

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The jurisdictions overlap in some cases, and cases started in one division may be transferred by court order to another where appropriate.

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The differences of procedure and practice between divisions are partly historical, derived from the separate courts which were merged into the single High Court by the 19th-century Judicature Acts, but are mainly driven by the usual nature of their work, for example, conflicting evidence of fact is quite commonly given in person in the Queen's Bench Division, but evidence by affidavit is more usual in the Chancery Division which is primarily concerned with points of law.

The Judicature Acts are a series of Acts of Parliament, beginning in the 1870s, which aimed to fuse the hitherto split system of courts in England and Wales.

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Most High Court proceedings are heard by a single judge, but certain kinds of proceedings, especially in the Queen's Bench Division, are assigned to a Divisional Court, a bench of two or more judges.

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Exceptionally the court may sit with a jury, but in practice normally only in defamation cases or cases against the police.

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Litigants are normally represented by counsel, but may be represented by solicitors qualified to hold a right of audience, or they may act in person.

A counsel or a counsellor at law is a person who gives advice and deals with various issues, particularly in legal matters.

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In principle the High Court is bound by its own previous decisions, but there are conflicting authorities as to what extent.

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Appeal from the High Court in civil matters normally lies to the Court of Appeal, and thence in cases of importance to the Supreme Court ; in some cases a "leapfrog" appeal may be made directly to the Supreme Court.

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In criminal matters appeals from the Queen's Bench Divisional Court are made directly to the Supreme Court.

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The High Court is based at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in the City of Westminster, London.

The Royal Courts of Justice, commonly called the Law Courts, is a court building in London which houses both the High Court and Court of Appeal of England and Wales.

The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough which also holds city status.

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It has district registries across England and Wales and almost all High Court proceedings may be issued and heard at a district registry.

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The High Court is headed by the Lord Chief Justice.

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