The Judiciary Systems

The judiciary systems of all the above countries including South Africa are quite similar in many aspects. This is due to the fact that good portions of the constitution of these countries are borrowed from the English law after which some form of an amendment is done to suit a specific country which has borrowed the portions. All the above countries have written constitutions with the exception of the UK. The UK judiciary system is unique and operates with an unwritten constitution. The judiciary system operates from the statute book which has vast rich record of court decisions made on different criminal and civil issues. The courts in the judiciary system make decisions basing on this decisions which have been recorded; for instance the U.S. law has its origins in four sources; the common law, the constitution, statutory law and administrative law. In all these countries except the UK the constitution is the basis of every law. With the exception of United Kingdom the constitution form the basic source of law implying that any law which opposes the dictations of the constitution is considered null and void. Therefore in all the countries except United Kingdom when laws are being formed it is taken into precaution that the dictations of the constitution are not violated (Gaines and Miller 89)

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Unlike in South Africa where there is a constitutional court, the U.S has a supreme court as the highest court in the land. It should be noted that the functions of the US supreme court closely resembles those of the constitutional court of the republic of South Africa. There are state courts in the US which are subject to review by the Supreme Court; this is close resemblance of the high courts in South Africa which are also a subject of the review of the Supreme Court in South Africa. The U.S system has codified laws making it quite simple for the court proceedings. This does not happen in South Africa as a result it make the court procedure quite daunting especially when there is there is a need for one to find out some relevant portions of the law in order for it to be used (Gaines & Miller p. 195).


Similarly to South Africa and US the Canada judicial system especially the constitution is based on the English common law. In Canada the highest court is the Supreme Court. There are other courts below the Supreme Court which consists of the federal courts and other smaller courts which have been instituted. The Supreme Court in Canada is presided over by the Chief justice. This is a close resemblance to the South Africa Judiciary system. The Chief justice is appointed by the Prime Minister similarly to the chief justice of South Africa who is appointed by the president. A different scenario is seen for the case of USA where the chief justice is not appointed but picked by political figures. In Canada all the office of the premier gets involved in picking of the other judges. In the other countries judges are picked by commissions which have a group of people from different political orientations (Speaght, 76).

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a relatively complex judiciary system. Three separate legal systems exist; one for Northern Ireland, another one for Scotland and another one for England and Wales. The three systems are principally the same though their manner of operation is quite different. Reformation has been going on to reconcile the three systems for instance there has been formed a supreme court which is the final court of appeal. Initially there was the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords which used to be highest court. The Ministry of Justice has been created to replace the office of the Lord Chancellor and oversee the administration of the judiciary system (Grubbs 54).


It should be noted that the countries described above have a good portion of their constitution being derived from the English common law. This has applied to many countries especially those that are former colonies of the Great Britain. USA, Canada and South Africa are former colonies of the UK and as such they judiciary systems have a striking resemblance in their structure. The differences which are exhibited are very slight. Actually all the law systems in these countries are based on the principles of the common law. In Canada, USA, UK and South Africa the Supreme Court has been enacted as the highest court for criminal and civil issues. A striking difference between the UK and the other countries discussed above is that the UK has no source of its laws but uses unwritten constitution which constitutes laws on the statute book which has a record of decisions of courts handed down from the past.

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