Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

12 weeks
8 Lessons
78 Students

Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)


Welcome to Nexter Law training. In this short introduction, we will look at the English Legal System.

England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction situated within the United Kingdom, a sovereign unitary state of which the sovereign is the head and consisting of several legal jurisdictions, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

England and Wales formed the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and are often referred to together.

England and Wales follow the legal system, known as English Law, which is the basis of common law systems used in most Commonwealth countries, and the United States.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own legal jurisdictions. Since 1997, devolution has decentralised some aspects of power in the UK through the establishment of a devolved Scottish Parliament and assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland.

England, however, has no devolved parliament or assembly of its own and is directly ruled from Westminster.

There are several sources of law in the English legal system. Common law system as opposed to common law itself, is a legal system that affords significant weights to common law decisions. On the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions.
The principle that governs the operation of a common law system is that of Starry Decisis, the principle that similar cases should be decided according to consistent, principled rules, so that they will reach similar results.

The body of president is called common law and it binds, or at least influences future decisions, so a decision of a senior court will bind the junior court whilst decisions of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the highest appeal court in England or Wales binds, all other cause below it.
For example, murder is an offence that is not on the statute books in England and Wales it is an offence by virtue of the constitutional authority of the courts and their previous decisions, rather than by Acts of Parliament.

Where parties disagree on what law is, a common law court seeks guidance from past decisions of relevant courts on similar type cases. If such cases exist, the court is bound to follow the reasoning used in the private occasions, Starry Decisis. Unless the case can be distinguished as being different from the authority case on the facts.

If the facts before the court are fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, it is called a matter of first impression. Judges have the authority and duty to make law by virtue of the judgement they handed down. The decision becomes president if the court is off sufficiently senior level and will bind future courts.

Equity is the name given to the set of legal principles in English law that seek to achieve justice where the application of strict rules of law would be overly harsh or unfair. Equity is governed by Maxim of Equity, to ensure a degree of flexibility and creativity in finding equitable solutions to problems. Equitable remedies, unlike legal remedies such as payment of damages, are granted at the sole discretion of a judge. Equitable awards also required that a person seeking equitable relief must have acted in good faith in the matter at hand. Equity is covered in more detail in the equity and Trust lectures.

Acts of Parliament, also known as statute law, are primary instruments by which law is made in the United Kingdom by the United Kingdom Parliament. Acts of parliaments are among the most important sources of the law in England and Wales. Parliament has the ability to legislate however it wishes on any subjective wishes, as well as being the ultimate law making body in the United Kingdom to which no other body in theory is superior. This is known as a principle of parliamentary sovereignty.

All parliamentary legislation is in principle of equal validity and effectiveness. Parliament may delegate power to another authority to make rules and regulations in an area where parliamentary languages is general to give practical effects of legislation. These rules have the force of law and called statutory instruments.

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