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The Summary Court 

The Summary Court is the first tier within the Falkland Islands' justice system. It comprises :

The Adult Court – for criminal cases involving people over 18.

The Youth Court – for criminal cases involving young people aged from 10-17.

The Family Proceedings Court – where some family disputes are settled.

The hearing of employment matters - for individuals asserting their rights relating to their employment


The Justices of the Peace sit in the Summary Court; they are non-legally qualified members of the community who are responsible for determining innocence or guilt and who have limited sentencing powers in criminal matters. They sit with a legal adviser, who is there to advise them on questions of law and procedure.

All criminal cases start life in the Summary Court. Upon hearing details of the circumstances of the case Justices will decide whether they feel they have sufficient sentencing powers to deal with the matter or if it ought to be dealt with by a Court with greater sentencing powers. The Justices may also decide that a matter should be dealt with by the Magistrate's Court because the defendant has other matters before the Magistrate's Court, or there is a co-accused already before the Magistrate's Court, or because the case may involve complex points of law, or because the matter is of particular public interest, or for any other reason that is in the interests of justice.  Where the matter is an indictment only offence the Justices will send the matter for hearing before the Supreme Court. For more information about the criminal jurisidction of the Summary Court see the relevant drop down menu or click here.

Some Justices are specially trained to deal with family cases. Cases are usually brought to the court either when a young person is at risk of serious harm, or when there is a family dispute concerning children, often when parents have split up. For more information about the Family Proceedings Court see the relevant drop down menu or click here.

Under the Employment Protection Ordinance an employee who is aggrieved with the decision of his or her employer in respect of their employment rights may refer the matter to the Summary Court. For more information about employment matters before the Summary Court please see the relevant drop down menu or click here.