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On The Web: Where to Find UK and Irish Law

UK Court System

The website of the Judiciary of England and Wales provides a useful explanation and chart outlining the structure of the UK court system.

Supreme Court

In October 2006, the Supreme Court replaced the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the highest court in the United Kingdom. The Court hears appeals of UK civil cases, and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It also hears cases on devolution matters under the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1988 and the Government of Wales Act 2006. This jurisdiction was transferred to the Supreme Court from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

House of Lords

The UK Parliament provides the full text of all House of Lords judgments delivered from 14 November 1996 to 30 July 2009. During this period, the House of Lords was the final court of appeal on points of law for all civil law cases in the UK and all criminal cases in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

The JCPC is the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies, and for those Commonwealth countries that have retained the appeal to Her Majesty in Council or, in the case of Republics, to the Judicial Committee. It was also the court of final appeal for determining devolution issues in the UK until this jurisdiction was transferred to the Supreme Court on 1 October 2009.