SECTION 3. THE JUDICIARY

CHAPTER XV
THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

1. JUDGES AND COURTS

In England, as elsewhere, the principal agents who compose the judicial branch of government are, of course, judges. The judges, frequently sitting one at a time, are in turn the principal constituent element of modern English courts. A court is an institution, though the expression is also commonly applied to the place at which a court holds its sessions. As an institution, courts have as their general function the application of the law to individual cases.

The English judiciary may be regarded as having become an autonomous branch of government in the Middle Ages, when the three great Common Law Courts and the Court of Chancery became established.1 In addition, not only did arrangements for appeal exist, arising naturally out of the fact that the great Courts were developed from the Curia Regis; but, with the passing of time, other courts were set up. Sir Edward Coke ( 1552- 1634) describes seventy-four as operative in England. At the present day, three courts may be said to perform analogous work. The change is to be attributed to reorganization and consolidation that were, for the most part, the accomplishment of the nineteenth century. The existing system of courts is marked by a high degree of unification.

According to a terminology encountered at times, courts are divided one from the other always horizontally and, sometimes, vertically. The concept of a horizontal division is applicable

____________________
1
Cf. Ch. VII, p. 80, supra.

-229-

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