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A court is an official, public forum which is established by the lawful
authority of a public power for the adjudication of disputes, and dispense
civil, labour, administrative and criminal justice under the law. Some
courts may function with a jury that make decisions about the facts before
the court under the direction of the judge; in other courts, such as
appellate courts, all decisions are made by judges. The extent of a court's
power to hear the various matters which come before it is known as that
court's jurisdiction, which is granted by a constitutional provision, Act of
Parliament or by an enabling statute. In most civil law jurisdictions courts
function under an inquisitorial system. In the common law system most courts
are run on the adversarial system. The rules by which courts are run are
procedural law, such as civil procedure for private disputes and criminal
procedure for violation of the criminal law.
There are unipersonal and pluripersonal courts. The various matters which
come before a pluripersonal court are usually assigned to a particular
judge, or a judicial officer (such as a court commissioner) serving in the
capacity of a judge pro tem. Every court has a presiding judge and may have
one or more other judges and/or judicial officers assigned to various court departments.