AskDefine | Define judicature

Dictionary Definition



1 an assembly (including one or more judges) to conduct judicial business [syn: court, tribunal]
2 the system of law courts that administer justice and constitute the judicial branch of government [syn: judiciary, judicatory, judicial system]
3 the administration of law; the act of determining rights and assigning rewards or punishments; "justice deferred is justice denied" [syn: justice]
4 the position of judge [syn: judgship, judgeship]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the administration of justice
  2. the position or status of a judge
  3. the jurisdiction of a court
  4. a court, or other assembly that conducts judicial business; a system of such courts

Extensive Definition

In the law, the judiciary or judicial system is the system of courts which administer justice in the name of the sovereign or state, a mechanism for the resolution of disputes.
The term is also used to refer collectively to the judges, magistrates and other adjudicators who form the core of a judiciary, as well as the support personnel who keep the system running smoothly. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the judiciary is the branch of government primarily responsible for interpreting the law. It construes the laws enacted by the legislature.
  • In common law jurisdictions, case law is created by the courts' interpretations as a result of the principle of stare decisis;
  • In civil law jurisdictions, courts interpret the law, but are, at least in theory, prohibited from creating law, and thus, still in theory, do not issue rulings more general than the actual case to be judged; in practice, jurisprudence plays the same role as case law;
  • In socialist law, the primary responsibility for interpreting the law belongs to the legislature.
This difference can be seen by comparing India, United States, France and the People's Republic of China:
  • In Indian democracy, courts have the final say until the constitution itself is amended, although a supreme court judgment in 1970s ruled that Parliament doesn't have the authority to change the basic structure of Indian constitution.
  • in the United States government, the Supreme Court is the final authority on the interpretation of the federal Constitution and all statutes and regulations created pursuant to it;
  • in France, the final authority on the interpretation of the law is the Conseil d'État for administrative cases, and the Court of Cassation for civil and criminal cases;
  • and in the PRC, the final authority on the interpretation of the law is the National People's Congress.
  • Other countries such as Argentina have mixed systems that include lower courts, appeals courts, a cassation court (for criminal law) and a Supreme Court. In this system the Supreme Court is always the final authority but criminal cases have four stages, one more than civil law.
It is said that the famed Byzantine Emperor Justinian had the Corpus Juris Civilis compiled and all other decisions by jurists burned to create certainty in the law. Again in the 19th century, French legal scholars at the time of the development of the Code Napoléon advocated the same kind of approach — it was believed that since the law was being written down precisely, it should not need interpretation; and if it did need interpretation, it could be referred to those who wrote the code. Napoleon, who was an advocate of this approach, felt that the task of interpreting the law should be left with the elected legislature, not with unelected judges. This contrasted with the pre-revolutionary situation in France, where unelected 'parliaments' defending the interests of the nobility would often slow the enforcement of royal decisions, including much needed reforms.
However, this idea was found difficult to implement in practice. In France, along with other countries that Napoleon had conquered, or where there was a reception of the Civil Code approach, judges once again assumed an important role, like their English counterparts. In civil law jurisdictions at present, judges interpret the law to about the same extent as in common law jurisdictions – though it may be acknowledged in theory in a different manner than in the common law tradition which directly recognizes the limited power of judges to make law. For instance, in France, the jurisprudence constante of the Cour de cassation or the Conseil d'État is equivalent in practice with case law.
In theory, in the French civil law tradition, a judge does not make new law; he or she merely interprets the intents of "the Legislator." The role of interpretation is traditionally approached more conservatively in civil law jurisdictions than in common law jurisdictions. When the law fails to deal with a situation, doctrinal writers and not judges call for legislative reform, though these legal scholars sometimes influence judicial decisionmaking. So-called "Socialist" law adopted the status of civil law, but added to it a new line of thought derived from Communism — the interpretation of the law is ultimately political, and should serve the purposes of Communism, and hence should not be left to a non-political organ.

See also

judicature in Arabic: سلطة قضائية
judicature in Min Nan: Su-hoat
judicature in Bosnian: Sudska vlast
judicature in Bulgarian: Съдебна власт
judicature in Catalan: Poder judicial
judicature in Danish: Dømmende magt
judicature in German: Rechtsprechung
judicature in Spanish: Poder judicial
judicature in French: Pouvoir judiciaire
judicature in Indonesian: Kehakiman
judicature in Italian: Potere giudiziario
judicature in Hebrew: הרשות השופטת
judicature in Lithuanian: Teisminė valdžia
judicature in Macedonian: Судска власт
judicature in Malay (macrolanguage): Kehakiman
judicature in Dutch: Rechterlijke macht
judicature in Japanese: 司法
judicature in Norwegian: Dømmende makt
judicature in Low German: Rechtsprekend Macht
judicature in Polish: Władza sądownicza
judicature in Portuguese: Poder judicial
judicature in Simple English: Judiciary
judicature in Serbian: Судска власт
judicature in Swedish: Dömande makt
judicature in Thai: อำนาจตุลาการ
judicature in Vietnamese: Tư pháp
judicature in Ukrainian: Судова влада
judicature in Chinese: 司法

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Areopagus, adjudgment, adjudication, arbitrament, arbitration, board, choice, council, court, court of arbitration, court of justice, court of law, curia, deeming, discrimination, forum, good judgment, inquisition, judging, judgment, judicatory, judicial process, judiciary, justice, law court, legal tribunal, the Inquisition, the courts, tribunal
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