court, in law, official body charged with administering justice. The term is also applied to the judge or judges who fill the office and to the courtroom itself. Courts come into existence when legal relations are no longer entirely a private matter. Thus, courts do not exist in a society governed by vendetta, and they are of little consequence in one where composition for wrongs is the rule. In addition to law courts there are ecclesiastical courts, arbitral tribunals (e.g., for labor cases), administrative tribunals, and courts-martial (see military law).
See also conflict of laws .
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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