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A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808–11).
A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808–11).

A court is any person or institution with authority to judge or adjudicate, often as a government institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law.[1] In both common law and civil law legal systems, courts are the central means for dispute resolution, and it is generally understood that all people have an ability to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, the rights of those accused of a crime include the right to present a defense before a court.

The system of courts that interprets and applies the law is collectively known as the judiciary. The place where a court sits is known as a venue. The room where court proceedings occur is known as a courtroom, and the building as a courthouse; court facilities range from simple and very small facilities in rural communities to large buildings in cities.

The practical authority given to the court is known as its jurisdiction (Latin: jus dicere') – the court's power to decide certain kinds of questions or petitions put to it. According to William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, a court is constituted by a minimum of three parties: the actor or plaintiff, who complains of an injury done; the reus or defendant, who is called upon to make satisfaction for it, and the judex or judicial power, which is to examine the truth of the fact, to determine the law arising upon that fact, and, if any injury appears to have been done, to ascertain and by its officers to apply a legal remedy. It is also usual in the superior courts to have barristers, and attorneys or counsel, as assistants,[2] though, often, courts consist of additional barristers, bailiffs, reporters, and perhaps a jury.

The term "the court" is also used to refer to the presiding officer or officials, usually one or more judges. The judge or panel of judges may also be collectively referred to as "the bench" (in contrast to attorneys and barristers, collectively referred to as "the bar"). In the United States, and other common law jurisdictions, the term "court" (in the case of U.S. federal courts) by law is used to describe the judge himself or herself.[3]

In the United States, the legal authority of a court to take action is based on personal jurisdiction over the parties to the litigation and subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims asserted.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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Hey YouTube, Jim here! Welcome to Top10Archive! The courtroom may be one of the worst melting pots of emotion, often mixing the impassioned sense of justice, primal rage, and heartbreaking sorrow. From this brew comes the worst of insane tirades, physical outbursts, and moments of raw emotion, detailed in this installment of the ten most insane courtroom moments caught on camera. Before we get started, help us out by hitting that like button, and be sure to leave us a comment because we're always looking to engage in interesting conversations with you! Also, don't forget to click the bell so you get notified every time we put out a new video! 10. Nicole Babb Bares All There’s no telling what could happen in court, and though this moment of weirdness occurred in a bond courtroom, it’s well worth mentioning! While waiting in line to discuss the nature of her appearance with the Miami-Dade County judge, a woman identified as Nicole Babb decided the humidity was just too much to handle. Undoing what looked like a make-shift hospital gown, Babb disrobed and proceeded to get down on all fours in front of her onlookers. The court’s bailiffs weren’t really the quickest to respond, but they did eventually get her dressed before escorting her away. 9. May 1st, 1776 To most, it’s a random day in the late-18th century, but for people like Titus Nathan Colbert, it’s a momentous date. During his court appearance for firing a weapon at San Diego police officers in Bankers Hill, Colbert showed his devotion to the Illuminati and the New World Order by repeatedly shouting the date May 1st, 1776, the date the Bavarian Illuminati was allegedly formed. Prior to standing before the judge, Colbert can be seen mouthing the word “Illuminati,” but once it came time to hear his sentence, he became vocally disruptive before being removed from the courtroom. 8. Michael Gaines’ Potty Mouth We have to question the tactic being employed by Michael Gaines as he slung obscenity after obscenity at District Judge Rebecca Pilshaw during his sentencing. The HIV-positive defendant was convicted of battery after spitting on two sheriff’s deputies at the Sedgwick County Jail, but if his R-rated rant indicates anything, Gaines feels there’s a bit of injustice on hand. After calmly expressing himself, Gaines was removed from the courtroom – of course ensuring he threw in a few final words - and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. 7. Butts and Cunningham Joint Sentencing Considering the heinous crime that Erica Mae Butts and Shanita Latrice Cunningham committed in 2009, the life terms they each received sounds fitting. Of course, the defendants, who were found guilty of the wrongful death of 3-year-old Serenity Richardson, didn’t take the news too well. Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson took no pity on Butts and Cunningham, who both collapsed to the floor at the reading of their sentence. Following their off-camera collapse, a loud shrill filled the courtroom, a cry for mercy underserved for the two killers. As the two were wheeled out, catatonic, Butts’ mother was physically removed for her hysterics. 6. The Courtroom Mixtape If all else fails, try to woo them, right? At his sentencing for wrongful imprisonment and carrying a concealed weapon, 21-year-old Brian Earl Taylor pulled all the stops when he opted to use his time for a statement to sing to the courtroom. Taylor showed off his musical and lyrical prowess, using Adele as his inspiration, to apologize to the judge, his mother, and the victim. In a strange twist, Judge Darlene O’Brien was so moved by the rendition that she threw the charges out… Naw, we’re kidding. He was found guilty and sentenced to up to 15 years for the unlawful imprisonment and two years for the concealed weapon. 5. The Hollingsworth Fracas Slightly displeased with his court-appointed lawyer, defendant Wendell Hollingsworth, who was facing the gavel for robbing churches across Columbus, Ohio in 1992, showed his disdain during his day in court in 2007. Once wheeled up to his attorney, Hollingsworth kicked him but was immediately subdued by nearby deputies. In the melee, defense attorney J. Scott Weisman cut his hand and one deputy was accidentally tasered. Hollingsworth returned to the courtroom later, this time restrained with a “spit shield” cover over his mouth. For his unholy escapade, dubbed a “reign of terror” by Judge Julie M. Lynch, the feisty criminal received 93 years. 4. Keison Wilkins’ Heart Attack? Ah, the ‘ole “I’m coming, Elizabeth!” defense! Then 33-year-old Keison Wilkins had decided to represent himself during his retrial for a 2004 assault, felony weapon possession, and for discharging a weapon in a habitat. The trial was a circus, to say the least, but the icing on the cake of justice unfolded while Wilkins was cross-examining a deputy. Realizing that his case was tanking, Wilkins proceeded to fake a heart attack. Judge Mary Katherine Huffman kept it cool despite having been dealing with Wilkins’ disruptive behavior, chided him for his fool-hearted attempt to cause a mistrial, and eventually sentenced him to 42 years. 3. Michael Madison’s Smile To smile while a father tearfully testifies on the torture and murder of his daughter is nothing short of pure evil. As Van Terry addressed defendant Michael Madison, who was responsible for the death and mutilation of Van Terry’s daughter Shirellda and two other victims, Shetisha Sheeley and Angela Deskins, the cold-blooded killer smirked. Catching the slyness, Van Terry reacted as any grieving father should – by lunging at the grinning killer. In the chaos that ensued, the two were removed from the courtroom, but when the trial resumed, Madison was sentenced to death. 2. T.J. Lane’s Sentencing In February of 2012, T.J. Lane made headlines by opening fire in a Chardon, Ohio school cafeteria, killing three students. Throughout the trial, Lane proved that he was pretty proud of himself and his actions and showed no remorse, but it was during his sentencing that his blasé attitude truly shined through. Wearing a plain white shirt with the word “killer” scribed on the front, Lane used his last words before his sentence was delivered to gouge open the wounds of the victims’ families. As spectators reeled from the heartless words, Judge David Fuhry condemned Lane to three life sentences without the possibility of parole. 1. Michael Marin’s Final Sentencing As a lawyer and Wall Street trader, Michael James Marin enjoyed success. After purchasing a 10,000-square-foot mansion in 2008, Marin attempted to sell it for profit in 2009 via a lottery, but once the lottery was deemed illegal, he implemented plan B. The day after the lottery was to take place, Marin called 911 to report that the mansion was on fire and, during the follow-up investigation, all blame for the fire pointed back to him. In May of 2012, hearings started for his arson charges and, after hearing the guilty verdict, Marin ingested a cyanide capsule he had snuck into the courtroom. Moments later, he was convulsing on the floor, dying from his own lethal ingestion.



The word court comes from the French cour, an enclosed yard, which derives from the Latin form cortem, the accusative case of cohors, which again means an enclosed yard or the occupants of such a yard. The English word court is a cognate of the Latin word hortus from Ancient Greek χόρτος (khórtos) (meaning "garden", hence horticulture and orchard), both referring to an enclosed space.[4]

The meaning of a judicial assembly is first attested in the 12th century, and derives from the earlier usage to designate a sovereign and his entourage, which met to adjudicate disputes in such an enclosed yard. The verb "to court", meaning to win favor, derives from the same source since people traveled to the sovereign's court to win his favor.[4][5]


The word jurisdiction comes from juris and dictio (a speaking and pronouncing of the law).[6] Jurisdiction is defined as the official authority to make legal decisions and judgements over an individual or materialistic item within a territory.[7]

"Whether a given court has jurisdiction to preside over a given case" is a key question in any legal action.[8] Three basic components of jurisdiction are personal jurisdiction over an individual, jurisdiction over the particular subject matter (subject-matter jurisdiction) or thing (res) and territorial jurisdiction.[8] Jurisdiction over a person refers to the full authority over a person regardless on where they live, jurisdiction over a particular subject matter refers to the authority over the said subject of legal cases involved in a case, and lastly, territorial jurisdiction is the authority over a person within an x amount of space.

Other concepts of jurisdiction include general jurisdiction, exclusive jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction, and (in the United States federal courts) diversity jurisdiction.[8]

Trial and appellate courts

Trial courts are courts that hold trials. Sometimes termed "courts of first instance", trial courts have varying original jurisdiction. Trial courts may conduct trials with juries as the finders of fact (these are known as jury trials) or trials in which judges act as both finders of fact and finders of law (in some jurisdictions these are known as bench trials). Juries are less common in court systems outside the Anglo-American common law tradition.

Appellate courts are courts that hear appeals of lower courts and trial courts.

Some courts, such as the Crown Court in England and Wales may have both trial and appellate jurisdictions.

Civil law courts and common law courts

The two major legal traditions of the western world are the civil law courts and the common law courts. These two great legal traditions are similar, in that they are products of western culture although there are significant differences between the two traditions. Civil law courts are profoundly based upon Roman Law, specifically a civil body of law entitled "Corpus iuris civilis".[9] This theory of civil law was rediscovered around the end of the eleventh century and became a foundation for university legal education starting in Bologna, Spain and subsequently being taught throughout continental European Universities.[9] Civil law is firmly ensconced in the French and German legal systems. Common law courts were established by English royal judges of the King's Council after the Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066.[10] The royal judges created a body of law by combining local customs they were made aware of through traveling and visiting local jurisdictions.[10] This common standard of law became known as "Common Law". This legal tradition is practiced in the English and American legal systems. In most civil law jurisdictions, courts function under an inquisitorial system. In the common law system, most courts follow the adversarial system. Procedural law governs the rules by which courts operate: civil procedure for private disputes (for example); and criminal procedure for violation of the criminal law. In recent years international courts are being created to resolve matters not covered by the jurisdiction of national courts. For example, The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, in The Kingdom of The Netherlands.

Court television shows

Television show courts, which are not part of the judicial system and are generally private arbitrators, are depicted within the court show genre; however, the courts depicted have been criticized as misrepresenting real-life courts of law and the true nature of the legal system.[11] Notable court shows include:

International Courts

Types and organization of courts


  1. ^ Walker, David (1980). The Oxford Companion to Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 301. ISBN 0-19-866110-X.
  2. ^ "Avalon Project - Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England - Book the Third - Chapter the Third : Of Courts in General". Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  3. ^ See generally 28 U.S.C. § 1: "The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices [ . . . ]" (italics added); 28 U.S.C. § 43(b): "Each court of appeals shall consist of the circuit judges of the circuit in regular active service." (italics added); 28 U.S.C. § 132(b) (in part): "Each district court shall consist of the district judge or judges for the district in regular active service." (italics added); 28 U.S.C. § 151 (in part): "In each judicial district, the bankruptcy judges in regular active service shall constitute a unit of the district court to be known as the bankruptcy court for that district [ . . . ]" (italics added).
  4. ^ a b Harper, Douglas. "court (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  5. ^ "COUR : Etymologie de COUR". Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  6. ^ The Federalist No. 81, footnote 3.
  7. ^ Inc., US Legal,. "Jurisdiction – Civil Procedure". Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Jurisdiction, Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School.
  9. ^ a b von Mehren, Arthur T.; Murray, Peter L. (8 Jan 2007). Law in the United States. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139462198. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b Burnham,, William (2006). Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States (4th ed.). St. Paul (Minn.): Thomson-West. ISBN 9780314158987.
  11. ^ Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Politics in the United States - David W. Neubauer, Stephen S. Meinhold. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-06-24.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 March 2019, at 20:04
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