Difference Between Court and Trial

Court vs Trial

Identifying the difference between court and trial can be somewhat perplexing for those of us who are not acquainted with the precise definition of each term. Indeed, most of us are aware of the distinction between Court and Trial, which are terms that essentially constitute the most important elements in the sphere of law. However, it is natural for those, who are not aware of the meaning of each term, to use the terms interchangeably. But, there is a clear distinction between court and trial. A closer examination of each term is, therefore, necessary.

What is a Court?

A court is formally referred to as an organized body with powers, meeting at specified times and places for the adjudication of causes and other issues brought before it. It is typically known as the branch of government that is entrusted with the administration of justice. A court or the system of courts is established or created by statute or provisions in the Constitution. The primary aim of the court is to not only to administer justice but also to enforce the law. Think of a court as an impartial forum or assembly tasked with the responsibility of resolving disputes or issues between parties. Thus, parties typically go to court to seek justice, redress or relief for a particular wrong they have suffered or violation of their rights.The function of a court involves the hearing of cases, interpreting and applying the relevant law, and coming to a decision based on the evidence presented before it. Further, it is composed of judges and in some cases a judge and a jury. Courts are typically categorized into civil and criminal courts and there are rules and procedures that govern the function and process of each type of court.

Court vs Trial

What is a Trial?

Think of a trial as a process or proceeding that takes place within a court. Thus, a trial is heard before the judicial body alluded to above. The dictionary defines Trial as the act or process of testing, trying or putting to the proof. In the legal sense, this is exactly what happens in a trial. Questions of fact and questions of law are tested and tried resulting in a final determination. In law, a trial is defined as a judicial examination and determination of facts and legal issues between parties to a lawsuit. A trial is the primary mode by which disputes are resolved, particularly when the parties are unable to reach a settlement on their own. The ultimate objective of a trial is to deliver a fair and impartial decision. Its purpose is to examine and decide upon issues of fact and/or issues of law. A trial is often referred to as an adversarial proceeding which typically involves the presentation of evidence by both parties, arguments, application of the law, and the final determination. Trials are typically instituted before a judge or before a judge and jury. Trials can be either civil Trials or criminal Trials. In a civil trial, the objective is to determine if the plaintiff is entitled to claim the relief sought. On the other hand, in a criminal Trial, the goal is to determine the defendant‘s guilt or innocence.

Difference Between Court and Trial

What is the difference between Court and Trial?

• A court refers to a judicial body established to hear and determine cases between parties.

• A trial, in contrast, is the process by which cases are brought and heard before a Court.

• The ultimate goal of the court is to administer justice and enforce the law.

• In a trial, however, the ultimate goal is dispute resolution or the determination of a person’s guilt or innocence.


Images Courtesy: CO state capital old supreme court and trial by Jury via Wikicommons (Public Domain)