Differences Between Uk And Usa Legal Systems

Although USA and UK share many cultural, social, linguistic and other aspects of societies, there are major differences to be aware of when traveling from USA to UK. This particularly refers to differences regarding legislative and law systems. Whether you are visiting UK as a tourist or migrating to settle there for a longer period of time, you might come across various legislative obstacles or even require lawyer’s assistance.

This may refer to various administrative rules, financial laws, laws regulating health insurance, taxes and fees, diverse licenses or even criminal activities. The first thing to keep in mind is that UK citizens prefer the term “solicitor”. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is an excellent team of solicitors providing legal services in Yorkshire and specialized in mediating between courts in USA and courts in UK. These are the people to turn to if in need for legal help in UK and here are just some basic differences between these two legal systems you should be aware ahead.

UK court system vs. USA court system

When it comes to minor criminal and civil offenses, both court systems function similarly. Most of minor cases are delegated to magistrate and lower courts and vast majority of these cases is resolved at this level of jurisdiction.

Dale Harris
UK court system vs. USA court system

However, when it comes to more serious offenses, disputes or crimes, both countries implement three-levels systems. All cases are heard at lower courts at first, but usually go further to the Appeal courts after the verdict. If the case is not resolved definitely at this level, Supreme court will come up with the ultimate verdict.

The major difference refers to Tribunal system present in UK which is in charge of all major cases of importance for public. USA function differently, they split cases according to the niche and assign different matters to different courts.

State and federal laws

Both countries, UK and USA are divided into four regions in UK and 52 in USA, with every autonomous region practicing its own laws and legislative systems. These laws are usually subordinated to the Federal laws and federal courts, although majority of minor state cases never reaches federal courts.

State and federal laws
Difference of State and federal laws

However, compared to UK where every single state court is dominated by federal one, USA allows some exquisite exceptions when local laws beat federal ones. Death penalty is probably the most obvious example.

Lawyers, attorneys and solicitors

These terms are applicable in both countries, although some are more common in UK, such as solicitors. Regardless of the terminology, there are some differences when it comes to lawyers’ roles and licenses.

The basic education for lawyers lasts three years in USA and four, even five in UK. Once the lawyers in USA are granted their bar association license, they are free to practice law in any field they like. UK solicitors are usually specialized in a particular law aspect and required to gain more licenses when changing the field of practice.

Therefore, when looking for a lawyer in USA, you usually just need to find a good one. When looking for a solicitor in UK, you’ll have to match his license with the nature of your case.