The earliest developed courts were probably in the and in in during the , but we find evidence of courts as described in the and in in the . Two of the earliest titles referring to the concept of a courtier were likely the and of the . The royal courts influenced by the court of the such as those of the and the would also have identifiable developed courts with and other features associated with later courts.
The two major legal traditions of the western world are the civil law courts and the common law courts. These two great legal traditions are similar, in that they are products of western culture although there are significant differences between the two traditions. Civil law courts are profoundly based upon Roman Law, specifically a civil body of law entitled "". This theory of civil law was rediscovered around the end of the eleventh century and became a foundation for university legal education starting in Bologna, Spain and subsequently being taught throughout continental European Universities. Civil law is firmly ensconced in the French and German legal systems. Common law courts were established by English royal judges of the King's Council after the Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066. The royal judges created a body of law by combining local customs they were made aware of through traveling and visiting local jurisdictions. This common standard of law became known as "Common Law". This legal tradition is practiced in the English and American legal systems. In most civil law jurisdictions, courts function under an . In the common law system, most courts follow the . governs the rules by which courts operate: for private disputes (for example); and for violation of the criminal law. In recent years international courts are being created to resolve matters not covered by the jurisdiction of national courts. For example, The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, in The Kingdom of The Netherlands.
Judicial courts are created by the government through the enactment of statutes or by constitutional provisions for the purpose of enforcing the law for the public good. They are impartial forums for the resolution of controversies between parties who seek redress from a violation of a legal right. Both civil and criminal matters may be heard in the same court, with different court rules and procedures for each.