The Supreme Court (The Appellate Committee of the House of Lords) came into force on 1st October 2009 and plays a crucial role in the development of United Kingdom law as well as being the final court of appeal. From this date all current Law Lords became its first Justices. The first Justices remain Members of the House of Lords, but are unable to sit and vote in the House. All new Justices appointed after October 2009 will be directly appointed to The Supreme Court on the recommendation of a selection commission.
As an appeal court, The Supreme Court cannot consider a case unless a relevant order has been made in a lower court.
The Supreme Court UK will:
• be the final court of appeal for all United Kingdom civil cases, and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland
• hear appeals on arguable points of law of general public importance
• concentrate on cases of the greatest public and constitutional importance
• maintain and develop the role of the highest court in the United Kingdom as a leader in the common law world
The Supreme Court will hear appeals from the following courts in each jurisdiction:
England and Wales
• The Court of Appeal, Civil Division
• The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division
• (in some limited cases) the High Court
• The Court of Session
• The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland
• (In some limited cases) the High Court.