Justice and the law
There is no single legal system in the United Kingdom. A feature common to all systems of law in the United Kingdom is that there is no complete code. The sources of law include (1) statutes; (2) a large amount of "unwritten" or common law; (3) equity law; (4) European Community. Another common feature is the distinction made between criminal law and civil law.
1. In England and Wales, once the police have charged a person with a criminal offence, the crown Prosecution Service assumes control of the case reviews the evidence to decide whether to prosecute.
2. In Britain all criminal trial are held in open count because the criminal law presumes the innocence of the accused until he has been proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution and the defense get equal treatment. No accused person has to answer the question of the police before trial. He is not compelled to give evidence in count. Every accused person has the right to employ a legal adviser to conduct his defense. If he can not afford to pay, he may be granted aid at public expense. In criminal trial by jury, the judge passes sentence, but the jury decided the issue of guilt or innocence. The jury composed of 12 or ordinary people. If the verdict of the jury can not be unanimous, it must be a majority.
3.A verdict of " not guilt" means acquittal for the accused, who can never again be charged with that specific crime.
II. Criminal Courts
1. Criminal Courts in England and Wales
Magistrates' Courts which try summary offences and "either way" offences. A magistrates' court, which is open to the public and the media, usually consists of three unpaid "lay" magistrates-known as justices of the peace-who are advised on point of law and procedure by a legally qualified assistant. A Magistrates' court sits without a jury.
Youth Court which try most cases involving people under 18.