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The Legal Environment in the United Kingdom

Kimberly Callan Apr 15, 2019


The legal environment is very important in the development of an entity.

Before venturing into new markets, the business management should consider whether this environment will act as an enabling factor or as a stumbling block.
Here is a free expository essay on various factors within the business environment in the United Kingdom. This will discuss various sources of the English law, the court system and dispute resolution in the country.
This information can act as a basis on which one can develop their understanding of how a business can take advantage or brace for the challenges that emerge from the business legal environment.

Sources of Law in the UK

The sources of the law in the UK can be characterized into either primary or secondary. Primary sources of law refer to the provisions that characterize the law itself.

These are the initial authoritative statements that were made in the laws of the land.
They include case law that originates from the courts, legislations put in place by the two levels of parliament and the European laws (Clinch, 2006, p. 212).

These laws form the basis or foundation from which other legal provisions are drawn.
The secondary sources of law are comprised of commentaries on the primary ones that include law journals, legal encyclopedias, both legislative and non-legislative documents and textbooks.

Secondary sources are mainly utilized in interpretation.
Case law refers to decisions of the courts. They are usually recorded in publications and are a fundamental primary source of the law in the UK.

These reports carry decisions, facts, issues and the legal principles that are followed in reviewing and making decisions on these cases (Clinch, 2006, p. 215).
The doctrine of judicial precedents is always referred to when judges are faced with similar cases in the courts.
Legal encyclopedias are utilized by the academia as a basis for research in law. It groups similar or related cases and legislations together and gives key points under these categories of laws, for instance, Halsbury’s Laws of England and Wales.
Both parliamentary and non-parliamentary publications help practitioners understand the background of pieces of legislation. This aids in understanding the application of the law (Clinch, 2006, p. 212 Cherkassky, 2011, n.p).

These publications include command papers, both houses’ papers and reports and consultation documents from various ministries.
These form the largest part of the written laws within the UK. Parliament has supreme authority to enact laws as it sees fit for the country.

This legislation takes supremacy over the rest of the sources of law in the country and cannot be challenged in the courts (Clinch, 2006, p. 215). Textbooks form the basis of learning on law.
These explain various concepts in law. Once students understand concepts in textbooks, they can advance to law journals that then link the information in textbooks to the latest developments in the field (Thomas, et al., 2001 p. 3).

The English Court System

The English court system is a complicated one. This is due to the fact that this system has developed over the years unlike most of the other systems that were designed from scratch by a single individual or institution.

Different categories of cases are handled at various levels courts levels.
These courts were created to handle a specific categories of cases, for instance, the magistrates’ courts handle all criminal cases.

However, more serious criminal cases are usually committed to the Crown Court.
Appeal on the proceedings of this court are usually forwarded to the high court and sometimes it may continue to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court respectively.

Civil cases are dealt within county courts, but may also be dealt within the magistrate courts.
Appeals to these cases are submitted to the high court and the court of appeal.

However, divisions have been created in these courts, different from those that deal with criminal cases, to deal with civil cases that emanate from these two categories of courts (Clinch, 2006, p. 212 Cherkassky, 2011, n.p).
These divisions also exist in the Court of Appeal in case the participants in the cases feel the need to appeal to higher courts.
The tribunal structure within the UK is designed to deal with different cases and appeals. These include employment, immigration, land, tax among other issues.

Appeals made to decisions made in these tribunals are usually handled by the Court of Appeal (Clinch, 2006, p. 212 Cherkassky, 2011, n.p).
Special conventions within these court are created whenever an issue from tribunals is brought before it.

Alternative forms of dispute resolution in the UK

Currently, the UK courts have a good number of undecided cases and the number of individuals turning to these institutions for conflict resolution is still increasing.

This means that both individuals and corporates have to be educated on alternative ways of resolving conflicts that arise between them (Stipanowich, 2004 p. 850).
One of these methods is reconciliation.

It focuses on the individuals involved in the conflict by encouraging them to figure out their needs and expectations in regard to the issue under conflict.
Once they determine what they want, they can decide to compromise some of these expectations with the hope that the replication of the other party will help them come up with new conditions, where the each one’s need can be met to a certain reasonable extend.
During these stages, the two entities or individuals give evidence and a third party might be brought in to figure out the best solution.

Disagreements on the solution can then prompt court action.
Arbitration involves the two disagreeing parties where they agree to use an independent party to make decision on what each of them should do to help restore the status of the other to what it would be in case everyone honored their responsibility.
Arbitration in the UK has been given vast attention and this can be demonstrated through the formation of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators that exists separately from clients such as the trade association (Stipanowich, 2004 p. 856; Hensler, 2003, p.165).
Both conflicting parties must present their written evidence before the arbitrator to help them make a decision.

The decision arrived at by the arbitrator is usually confidential to the two parties.
Arbitration can only be done if both conflicting parties’ consent on this from of dispute resolution.

Often, the party that first presents the case meets the costs.
Mediation refers to a joint process where the conflicting parties must meet the mediator either jointly or at separate times and locations and give their details in regard to the dispute.

A mediation agreement is usually signed and gives a framework for the mediation process.
This process involves active participation of both parties. The conflicting individuals draft the terms of settling the disagreement in the presence of the arbitrator.

Therefore, the role of the arbitrator is to identify the strengths and weaknesses that exist in the case and make recommendations which the individuals may choose to adopt or not.
This conflict resolution method is more appropriate as the three individuals remain in touch.

Methods of International Dispute Resolution

Disputes involving individuals and corporates from different parts of the world may not be resolved under national judicial institutions as there may not exist common legal provisions that apply to these parties.
Three major international dispute resolution methods are applied in commerce: litigation, arbitration and negotiation.

During litigation, the defendant is required to present evidence before a jury (Hensler, 2003, p.165).
This may contain bank statements or even witnesses. The other party should respond by countering the evidence after which a judgement is made.

International arbitration is applied in cases where a contract exists between the two parties and spells out that arbitration is the remedy to disputes that arise.
International arbitration is usually faster and involves what looks like an informal process. Once the parties agree on a mutual arbitrator, they must abide by their decision and ensure that they observe the procedural aspects.

International negotiation brings together the two conflicting parties to discuss on an amicable solution to the dispute.
This method is also informal but must involve the consent of the two parties.

International contract breaches are often solved through this method where the two individuals or corporates decide the new obligations of each of them either by themselves or with the help of a third party.