Английский язык. Учебное пособие. Бабушкин А.П - 5 стр.


The Structure and Jurisdiction of Courts
Text A
There are two key elements to understanding court organization: the
of court systems
(the number and types of courts) and
court jurisdiction
(their legal
authority to hear different kinds of disputes that people bring to court). Both the
structure and jurisdiction of courts are determined by state and federal constitutions
and by statutes passed by state legislatures and Congress. The federal courts are
defined exclusively by federal law, and each of the fifty state court systems is
established and regulated by state governments. These basic organizational features
of courts are important, because they provide the basic foundation of court
involvement in public policy and affect judicial authority and ability to deal with
important social issues. Structure and jurisdiction are impossible to separate
completely, because particular courts always have particular jurisdiction. Structure
and jurisdiction are created together.
Court Structure
The federal government and about two-thirds of the states have
types of court:
a supreme court, intermediate courts of appeal, trial courts of general
jurisdiction, and trial courts of limited jurisdiction. (The federal government also has
two special appellate courts with limited jurisdiction and about half the states have
intermediate appellate courts at all.) Courts also have different names in different
systems. For instance, New York calls its highest court the Court of Appeals and
refers to its major trial courts as supreme courts. In some states, the trial courts are
called circuit courts, but in the federal system, the major trial courts are district
courts. Although particular courts often have different names, their functions are
roughly similar. Table I lists the major types of court that are found in the fifty states
and the federal system.
Trial Courts
Trial courts are the
points of entry
into the judicial process. Each side in a
lawsuit or a case has an opportunity to state its claim or complaint, to present
witnesses to prove its version of the facts and circumstances, and to cite the law
relevant to the conflict. Both opponents hope the judge or jury will decide that their
position is correct.
Court cases involve either
criminal or civil conflicts. Criminal cases
when a person has committed an act that is forbidden by state or federal law and is
punishable, possibly by a fine payable to the government or a jail term. Crimes are
illegal acts against “the people” or the state.
Civil cases
include all other cases and do
not involve jail terms. Civil cases often pit a government against an individual or a
group, but the issues usually concern the enforcement of various government policy.
Civil cases not involving the government are conflicts among private parties and