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The Judicial System of England and Wales: A Visitor’s Guide


In England & Wales we are extremely fortunate to have a modern, robust and fair justice system, overseen by truly independent judges of the highest integrity. This system has a history which can be traced back for over a thousand years and in 2015, we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta in Runnymede, a text which Lord Denning, one of our most famous judges, called “the greatest constitutional document of all times”. The sealing of Magna Carta in 1215 was a momentous event which has affected the lives of millions of people across the world.

But despite this impressive and illustrious history we are looking firmly towards the future. Our system is one that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of a rapidly changing society. Modernisation and reform within our courts is a continual and ongoing process. The law cannot stand still.

The Judiciary of England & Wales prides itself on the strong relationships we have with other judiciaries around the world. These relationships allow us to share best practice and help to develop the Rule of Law across the globe. We are all the beneficiaries. Effective relationships with judges overseas allow both sides to modernise and to reflect better the need for justice within the societies which we serve.

Every year we welcome many judges from other countries who are keen to learn more about our legal system. Our system is complex, having grown in the way it has. I hope this Guide will therefore act as a valuable introduction and will allow visitors to make the best use of their time in our jurisdiction.

I wish any Judge coming to visit us in England & Wales a productive, interesting and enjoyable time. We look forward to welcoming you.

Lord Justice Gross
Former Lead International Relations Judge