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The Crown Court of England and Wales is, together with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the constituent parts of the Supreme Court of Judicature in England and Wales. It is the higher court of first instance in criminal cases, and is equal in stature to the High Court, which hears civil cases as well as criminal appeals from the Magistrates' Courts. It sits in around 90 locations in England and Wales.
A Magistrates' Court or court of petty sessions, formerly known as a police court, is the lowest level of court in England and Wales and many other common law jurisdictions. A magistrates' court is presided over by a tribunal consisting of two or more (most commonly three) Justices of the Peace or by a District Judge (formerly known as a stipendiary magistrate), and dispenses summary justice, under powers usually limited by statute. The tribunal that presides over the Court is often referred to simply as the Bench.
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