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This article is within the scope of WikiProject Law, an attempt at providing a comprehensive, standardised, pan-jurisdictional and up-to-date resource for the legal field and the subjects encompassed by it.
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Comment by Francis Davey[edit]

Something needs to be said about tribunals here. In England and Wales a "tribunal" is often something different from a court (with some notable exceptions). Francis Davey 01:40, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The difference does need to be brought out. Please see below.VivekM

It should also be said that the description of a court room is nonsense for my jurisdiction (England and Wales), which while not "typical" perhaps, is the oldest common law jurisdiction. Some things such as not having a flag; courts rarely being wood panelled and so on stand out. I cannot visualise where the "bar" is supposed to go in a court room from the description given. I have appeared in quite a few courts and never been aware of an area that only I may enter.

Perhaps those who work in jurisdictions with more typical court rooms could make a description that can be visualised (which way does the bar go for example) and make it clear that things differ.

In England and Wales there are some curious differences, eg in most London Magistrates' Courts there is a single Royal Coat of Arms above the judge, in the City of London there is a vertical sword in its place flanked by the Royal and City Coats of Arms (one has to do something to while away the hours waiting to be called on). Francis Davey 01:45, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I've added some of the above, rather than tried to edit what is there. I hope this will prompt someone to do a bit of editing -- someone who knows more than I do about courts around the world. An explanation of what the "bar" is would be cool to.

Francis Davey 22:07, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

pluripersonal courts etc[edit]

Can someone explain the passage in this about pluripersonal courts, it makes no sense to me (a practising barrister in England). Does the pluripersonal describe the size of the tribunal -- eg 3 judges usually sit in our Court of Appeal of England and Wales, or does it refer to the number of members of the court itself? The paragraph at the moment is deeply mysterious.

Francis Davey 11:00, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I am an American attorney. I have never seen the term "pluripersonal" before. I concur with the comment by Francis Davey. The article does not seem to explain the term effectively. Can anyone enlighten us? Famspear 05:27, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Attempting re-draft[edit]

Hi, I'm doing a re-draft on my user page (leaving the article as it stands), in response to (and agreement with) the Rfe. I think the present article is well thought out in structure but could do with some re-arrangement; and fleshing out of content particularly to enable linking to very good existing material on related topics. I'm new to town. So comment, help, directions and company would be more than welcome. Apart from treatment of Francis Davey's requests already noted in the draft, explaining "bar" should be interesting. VivekM 23:33, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Civil Law[edit]

Hi, although I'm not a civil law qualified lawyer (and more than prepared to be corrected), it is not my understanding that civil law is based on French law (although France is of course a civil law jurisdiction); rather Roman law. Wikipedia contains a helpful entry on Civil Law (see the second link on the disambiguation page). Regards, --DRN 19:40, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

The term "court" sometimes means the judge, by law[edit]

I corrected some of the verbiage in the article. In the United States, for example, in the case of many Federal courts, the judge actually IS "the court," by statute. Of course, the term "the court" can also refer to the room or place where the proceeding is held, and that is the more common use of the term. Yours, Famspear 23:54, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

This is actually a common-law tradition. You'll see the same thing in Canada or England (as in finding things like "The Court addressed the plaintiff" etc. in the trial record). It probably comes from the fact that there weren't fixed courts (as in places) in the past but rather itinerant judges who traveled a circuit. G. Csikos, 3 May 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:18, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Indeed it often causes muddle in England and Wales because many of our courts can sit in multiple places at multiple times. The High Court of Justice might be sitting in 40 or 50 places, not all in the same town, at the same time, but it is still one court (as we would understand it). It just happens to be rather a big one. The Crown Court is even bigger. For administrative and practical reasons this does make a difference. Francis Davey (talk) 23:52, 25 August 2008 (UTC)


I removed this:

The court was traditionally where the monarch gave an audience to visitors. These audiences were often appellants requesting the monarchs judgement in resolving a dispute. European monarchs of the medieval period, such as Englands Henry II, found it expedient to appoint representatives, known as magistrates, to dispense justice on their behalf. These magistrates were set up in houses across the country as surrogates of the Royal Court and so were also known as courts. These became the basis of the modern legal administration system and the word court has come to mean a place where the law is heard.

because it is so horridly confused in its historical account that it is far more misleading to leave it in. I am not sure I am able to produce something accurate to replace it or what should go there (if anything). One difficulty is that it is far from clear that a "court" is originally a specifically royal court. In any case the history is all wrong. There are lots and lots of non-royal courts long before Henry II (Sheriff's courts, market courts, courts of feudal lords, courts of the counties Palatine, courts of the vil and hundred and so on). Magistrates or justices of the peace were a separate creation (as a counter-balance to the power of the Sheriff amongst other things) and had nothing to do with the central justice of the Royal courts. Local instances of Royal justice was carried out first through the institution of the Eyre and then via the system of judges going on circuit (even here I am simplifiying of course) at first with specific commissions, then with more general ones, not to mention the use of judicial writs to have matters heard in the county. None of this has anything to do with justices of the peace. Francis Davey (talk) 23:48, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

New lead[edit]

The lead now says that a court is a "government institution" and cites beginners textbook on law for source. How can that be right? Is the Court of Arches a government institution? For that matter the various Beth Din or any international court could not be described as a "government" institution. Looks wrong to me. Comments? Francis Davey (talk) 11:13, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I think you may be viewing the word "government" too narrowly. "A government is the organization, that is the governing authority of a political unit, the ruling power in a political society, and the apparatus through which a governing body functions and exercises authority." So, for example, a church has a governing body, and thus a "government"; likewise the international court operates through a governmental framework. In other words, a government needn't be a national entity. Maybe it would be better termed an "instrument of governance"? -- Mwanner | Talk 12:45, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
I think that's such a broad use of the word government that it will confuse. A court isn't really an instrument (is it)? More views welcome I think. Francis Davey (talk) 10:17, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Me's still busy [not really, :-)], back soon :-) VivekM (talk) 03:52, 25 June 2009 (UTC) today november 9 is my birthday and i am so proud of my self beacouse i am growing up and i a getting more meture i think


This article has an audience. The article, in various places, gives examples in good faith that would be familiar to readers and aids comprehension of the concepts...but only if you are from the US, the UK, or France. Someone else had already requested globalization, and I decided to specify the template after reading over the article. --Mr. Guye (talk) 22:56, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Civil Law and Common Law[edit]

I am in agreeance with several posters regarding this particular article. As noted above, Civil Law is a variant of Roman Law and was not conceptualized by the French. This portion of the article needs some fleshing out and restructuring. Mmcasse (talk) 00:52, 5 February 2015 (UTC)