|Established||1 October 1912|
|Composition method||Nomination by the Judicial Appointments Commission with appointment by HM The King|
|Authorised by||Judicature Act|
|Appeals to||Court of Appeal|
|Term length||Mandatory retirement at 75|
|Number of positions||21 (plus 1 ex-officio)|
|Chief Judge of the High Court|
|Currently||Sir Andrew Muir|
|Since||20 April 2010|
The High Court is the lower division of the Supreme Court of Justice, the upper being the Court of Appeal. It consists of the Chief Justice of New Ingerland, the Chief Judge of the High Court, and 20 puisne judges. The are two specialist divisions of the court, the Matrimonial Causes and Probate Division and the Commercial and Equity Division, and a number of judges are designated to hear arbitration-related matters. The seat of the High Court is the Supreme Court Building in Kingsbury, the seat of New Ingerland's government, although the court can be called upon to sit in other centres as required.
Function and jurisdiction
The High Court exercises both original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters. By possessing original jurisdiction, the Court is able to function as a court of first instance, and can deal with trials of matters coming before the courts for the first time. The Court exercises its appellate jurisdiction when it hears appeals from trials originating in the subordinate courts such as Crown Court and Magistrates' Court. The Court also exercises supervisory and revisionary jurisdiction over subordinate courts. The exercise of judicial review of administrative acts carried out by public authorities to ensure that they comply with principles of administrative law is an aspect of the Court's supervisory jurisdiction.
Under the principles of judicial precedent, the High Court is bound by decisions of the Court of Appeal. In turn, decisions of the High Court must be followed by Crown Court and Magistrates' Court. On the other hand, a Judge of the High Court is not bound by previous decisions by other High Court Judges. As a matter of comity, though, a Court will generally not depart from a previous decision unless there is a good reason to do so. If there are conflicting High Court decisions, it is up to the Court of Appeal to decide which decision is correct.
The High Court consists of a number of divisions, each with their own particular function and role.
King's Bench Division
Matters of criminal and civil law which would be dealt with by the High Court in the first instance are most often heard by the King's Bench. The bench hears the most serious criminal matters in the land, such as murder, treason, sedition, piracy and maladministration of office. In civil cases, the court has an unlimited jurisdiction, usually hearing cases dealing with matters in excess of £75,000 The only matters that the bench does not hear are matters relating to family law and the equity, which are heard by their own respective benches of the court.
Commercial and Equity Division
The Commercial and Equity Division of the High Court was established provide specialist expertise for the resolution of major commercial disputes and disputes of general commercial significance. Within the Division are a number of Lists that deal with a particular matter within the jurisdiction of the Court. In addition to the Commercial List of the Division, there is a Construction List that deal with substantial building and engineering contracts, and an Admiralty List that deals with any matters involving disputes relating to ships or their cargoes.
The Division's aim is to resolve cases as promptly and in as cost-effective a manner as possible. A substantial reason for achieving this is the continuance of a strict case management regime whereby the matters truly in issue are identified as early as possible, thereby enabling hearings to be brought on quickly. When a case commences it continues to finality without interruption thus eliminating all of the disadvantages, including expense, of part heard cases are thereby avoided.
Matters brought before the Division may also involve equity.
Matrimonial Causes and Probate Division
The Matrimonial Causes and Probate Division of the High Court deals with matters of family law, such as divorce and child custody. The division is also charged with the tasks of granting probate according to the wills of those who die testate, and making arrangements for the dispersal of the personal property of those who die intestate, and those whose executor is not in New Ingerland or cannot be located.
The dress of judges of the High Court is the most complex of all judicial outfits used in New Ingerland. What a judge wears is very much determined by the nature of the case he is hearing. Judges of the High Court most resemble their colleagues at the High Court of Justice for Ingerland and Wales.
|King's Bench judge (criminal)||When dealing with criminal business on the King's Bench, judges wear a scarlet robe with silk facings, a black scarf and girdle, a scarlet tippet, and a bench wig.|
|King's Bench judge (civil)||For civil cases before the King's Bench, judges wear a violet robe faced with silk, with the black scarf and girdle and scarlet tippet.|
|Other divisions judge||Judges of the other divisions of the High Court wear a court coat and waistcoat worn with bands beneath a black silk gown and a bench wig.|
References and notes
- Judicature Act (Public Act No. 9 of 1912). §62.