Organisation of justice - General Information
A wide variety of courts and tribunals
All the Member States have a range of courts, each with a well
The Member States' judicial systems are very diverse, reflecting differences
in national judicial traditions.
Generally speaking, however, two types of court can be identified
within each Member State:
- those which punish offences against persons, property or society
(such as murder, theft, vandalism, etc.); these courts can impose
penalties and are called criminal courts;
- those which resolve disputes between private persons or companies
(a divorce, a problem with rent, dismissal, etc.), which are civil
courts. Other courts, such as administrative or tax courts, can
resolve disputes between private persons or firms and the public
From one Member State to another, the concept of civil law and
the powers of the various courts can vary significantly.
Certain courts may have very general jurisdiction or, on the contrary,
may specialise in various areas, such as labour disputes, commercial
relations, or family matters.
In addition, each Member State has an appeals system
allowing for the possibility of requesting that a case in which a
judgment has already been given be reconsidered by a higher court.
By clicking on the flags of the Member States, you will find useful
information on their legal systems, including a description of the
courts with civil and commercial jurisdiction.
By clicking on the "Community law" icon, you will find information
on the Court of Justice of the European Communities.
By clicking on the "International law" icon, you will find information
on international courts, including the European Court of Human Rights.