Home > Different Courtrooms > The Supreme Court Explained

The Supreme Court Explained

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 12 Mar 2015 |
 
Court Supreme Appeal Criminal Civil

In 2009, the Supreme Court replaced the House of Lords Appellate Committee. It is the highest court in the UK. There are twelve judges who sit in the Supreme Court, which is now completely separate from the Government and Parliament. Not all cases can go to the Supreme Court. There must be an arguable point of law, and the case needs to have ‘public importance.’ What this means is that there is no right to appeal to the Supreme Court, as permission needs either to be sought from the court below, or from the Supreme Court itself if permission is refused at the court below.

What Does the Supreme Court Do?

The Supreme Court hears civil cases from all over the United Kingdom, and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is the only court in the UK in which virtually all proceedings are filmed. In some cases, the proceedings are broadcast on television.

Criminal Cases

In criminal proceedings, in order to go to the Supreme Court you must first seek permission from the Court of Appeal. This means that you must have had an appeal at the Court of Appeal in order to do this. The application can be made by either the prosecutor or the defendant. If you have already been to the Court of Appeal, the application is considered by the Court of Appeal and permission to go to the Supreme Court is either granted or refused. If it is refused, you can then renew the application at the Supreme Court in person. This hearing will determine whether you are entitled to have your case heard at the Supreme Court or not.

Civil Cases

It is also possible for the court to send a point of law of general public importance to the Supreme Court of its own volition. Only cases that have a point of law of general public importance can be heard at the Supreme Court. This means that your case has to be ‘exceptional’.

Leapfrog Appeals

In some cases, it is possible to ‘leapfrog’ other courts in order to take a case to the Supreme Court. Although there are certain exceptions to this, cases from the High Court or Divisional Court, or the High Court in Northern Ireland can send cases to the Supreme Court. In order to do this, a certificate from the High Court in question must first be obtained. This will only happen if the judge in the High Court determines that certain ‘relevant conditions’ are satisfied, that there is an arguable case that requires an application for permission to go to the Supreme Court, and that all parties consent to the case being heard by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court must also give permission for the case to be heard.

The ‘relevant conditions’ are that there is a point of ‘general public importance’ and that the question relates either to the interpretation of a statute or statutory instrument, or that the judge requires clarification on a point that has been fully considered by judgments in the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, and on whom the judgment would be binding.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
It appears, that it may not be entirely clear as to how one goes about applying for a point of law to be certified by the High Court (Divisional) Administrative Court, in relation to refusal to grant permission for judicial review, in a case that is classed as being of ' criminal cause' and therefore dealt with as a divisional court matter.
DJ - 7-Apr-11 @ 11:15 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Monk
    Re: Court Costs and Legal Aid
    If I'm on benefits can I get legal aid for slander a care home lied about me when visited my friend which has lasting affects meaning…
    12 July 2020
  • anne
    Re: A Guide to Court Orders
    I purchased 6 diamonds as an investment in 2013/14 from a company City Diamond Exchange Ltd.with the funds I received under a voluntary…
    11 July 2020
  • Kitty
    Re: Family Court and the Adoption Process
    Hi my 2 children have been adopted in write to them twice a year I want to know if I can go court to get them back..…
    10 July 2020
  • Social Issues
    Re: Pre-Sentence Reports
    Hello Star I'm not a legal representative. But, I am a criminal justice campaigner. Anybody can write to the National Probation Service,…
    10 July 2020
  • Lizm8618
    Re: Breach of Court Order: What Steps to Take Next?
    Me and my ex ended up in court in Jan 2019 for a child contact order due to him repeatedly letting my…
    10 July 2020
  • Marla76
    Re: What Will Happen if I Don't Turn Up at Court?
    My girlfriend was assaulted in the street by an ex employee of mine. As my girlfriend was going to the shop…
    10 July 2020
  • Sian
    Re: Caught Drink Driving
    Got pulled this morning and had to do a breath test. Blew at 50 have a court hearing next month. This is my first time. What will I be…
    7 July 2020
  • Emzemz
    Re: Common Law in England
    We want our government looked into for unlawfull lockdown and crimes against humanity where do we even start
    6 July 2020
  • Bruno
    Re: Failure to Attend Jury Service
    I have been selected for jury service, although I am going to go back to work in the end of the month, and it will clash with my…
    6 July 2020
  • Molly1100
    Re: A Guide to Small Claims Court
    can someone advise how I could bring my ex flatmate to court for leaving during tenancy agreement and not paying rent if she did…
    6 July 2020