By: Simon B
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If you have seen on the TV the guy at the top with the white wig and a wooden hammer? that is the Judge. A judge is a highly trained legal professional who is appointed to hear cases in a court of law. Different types of judge hear and try both civil and criminal cases. The Law Lords are the most senior judges and make decisions on appeals to the House of Lords. The Lord Chancellor is the most senior of the lot.
Court of Appeal judges come next in the order of things and preside over Court of Appeal hearings. High Court judges hear civil cases in the High Court and try serious criminal cases in the Crown Court. Masters and Registrars deal with most of the ordinary cases in the High Court.
Circuit judges hear County Court civil cases and try less serious criminal cases. Recorders are part-time barristers and solicitors with at least ten years experience who deal with Crown and County Court cases. District judges deal with smaller County Court hearings and family matters and are usually solicitors.
Depending on the court she’s presiding over, the judge may be joined by another judge or a jury (see next section) or sit on her own. A judge is there to apply the law, and in some cases, the outcome of the trial may set legal precedents that must be followed by other legal professionals.
In Scotland, the Sheriffs Courts are the workhorses of the legal system and the judges are called sheriffs. They can hear and try a wide range of civil and criminal cases. The most senior judges are called Sheriff Principals.