Law and criminal justice

Britain does not have a single legal system, such as Article 19 of the 1706 Treaty of Union provided for the continuation of a separate legal system of Scotland. Britain currently has three different legal systems: English law, Northern Ireland and Scottish law. A new UK Supreme Court established in October 2009 to replace the Appeals Committee of the House of Lords. Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, including members of the same with the Supreme Court, is the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth countries, British Overseas Land and Crown Dependencies.

Both English law, which applies in England and Wales, and Northern Irish law is based on the common-law principles. The essence of the common law is that, in accordance with the law, the law developed by judges in court, applying the meaning of the law, precedent and common to the facts before them to explain the principles of assessment of the relevant laws, which are reported and binding in future similar cases (stare decisis). Court of England and Wales are headed by Senior Courts of England and Wales, which consists of the High Court, High Court of Justice (civil cases) and the Crown Court (for criminal cases). The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country for cases of criminal and civil appeals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and every decision is made binding on every other court in the same jurisdiction, often have a persuasive effect in other jurisdictions.

Scottish law in force in Scotland, a hybrid system based on common law and civil law principles. The Court is the head of the Court of Session, for civil cases, and the acting High Court, for criminal cases. UK Supreme Court serves as the highest appeal court in civil cases under Scots law. Sheriff Courts deal with civil and criminal cases including conducting criminal trials by jury, which is known as a serious sheriff court, or the Sheriff and no jury, known as the Sheriff Court summary. Scottish legal system and has a unique three possible verdicts for a criminal trial: "guilty", "not guilty" and "not proven". The second result of "not guilty" and "not proven" in the exemption without the possibility of a retrial.

Crime in England and Wales increased in the period between 1981 and 1995, although that has happened since the height of an overall decline of 48% in 1995-2007/08 crime, according to crime statistics. The prison population in England and Wales has almost doubled over the same period, to more than 80,000, giving England and Wales the highest level of containment in Western Europe by 147 per 100,000. Queen of Prison Service, which is responsible to the Minister of Justice, manages most of the prisons in England and Wales. Crime in Scotland fell to its lowest level for 32 years was recorded in 2009/10, down ten percent. At the same time the Scottish prison population, at more than 8,000, are at record levels and well above design capacity. Scottish Prison Service, which reports to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, managing Scottish prison. In 2006 a report by the Surveillance Studies Network found that the UK has the highest rate of mass surveillance among western industrial nations.
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