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Encyclopedia > Circuit (country subdivision)


Circuits in the common law

In law, a circuit is an appellate judicial district commonly seen in the court systems of many nations. The term (as traditionally used among English-speaking lawyers) comes from an era in which judges would ride around the countryside each year on preset paths to hear cases. The stela of King Hammurabi depicts the god Shamash revealing a code of laws to the king. ... A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ... English barrister 16th century painting of a civil law notary, by Flemish painter Quentin Massys. ...


For much of the history of Western civilization, most people were illiterate and competent lawyers and judges were always in short supply relative to the demands for their services.

As England emerged from the Dark Ages, the king gradually hit upon the solution of making the judges ride around the countryside or "ride circuit" each year to hear appeals, rather than forcing everyone to bring their appeals to London. For more information, see the article on assizes. Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq... Petrarch, who conceived the idea of a European Dark Age. From Cycle of Famous Men and Women, Andrea di Bartolo di Bargillac, c. ... London (pronounced ) is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. ... The Courts of Assize, or Assizes, were periodic criminal courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the Quarter Sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. ...

United States

Since most of the original 13 colonies were largely settled by the English, it was natural that they would bring their idea of judicial circuits with them.

Under the original Judiciary Act of 1790 and subsequent acts, the U.S. Supreme Court justices themselves had the responsibility of "riding circuit" and personally hearing intermediate appeals (in addition to their caseload back in Washington). This onerous duty was abolished by Congress in 1891. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States...

Today, there is a federal Court of Appeals that sits permanently in each appellate circuit. The smaller circuits (like the Second and Third) are based at a single federal courthouse. In contrast, the huge Ninth Circuit is spread across many courthouses. Since three-judge federal appellate panels are randomly selected from all sitting circuit judges, Ninth Circuit judges must often "ride the circuit," though this duty has become much easier to carry out since the development of modern air travel.

The U.S. Supreme Court justices still retain vestiges of their old powers from the days of riding circuit; each justice is designated to hear certain interlocutory appeals from specific circuits and can unilaterally decide them or refer them to the entire Court. Also, the Court's customary summer recess originated as the time during which the justices would leave Washington and ride circuit (since dirt roads were more passable in the summer).

Circuits in East Asia

Circuit (道 ; Chinese: dào; Japanese: ) was a historical political division of China, and is still a Japanese one. In Korea, the same word (; do) is translated as "province." This article talks about the history of the political divisions of China. ... Korea (Korean: (ì¡°ì„  or 한국, see below) is a geographic area, civilization, and former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. ... Province is a name for a subnational entity. ...

There is another Chinese political division, the (), which is translated as "circuits" as well, because the dao and lu never coexisted. Both lu and dao literally mean "road/path".


Circuits originated in China in 627, when Emperor Taizong subdivided China into ten circuits. These were originally meant to be purely geographic and not administrative. Emperor Xuanzong further added five. Slowly the circuits strengthened their own power, until they became powerful regional forces that tore the country apart during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. During the Jinn and Song, circuits were renamed lu. Dao were revived during the Yuan Dynasty. Events April 11 - Paulinus, a Roman missionary, baptizes King Edwin of Deira December 12 - Battle of Nineveh: Byzantine Emperor Heraclius defeats the Persians Births Deaths November 10 - Justus, Archbishop of Canterbury Categories: 627 ... Emperor Taizong of Tang China (January 23, 599–July 10, 649), born Li Shimin (李世民 LÄ­ ShìMín), was the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China from 626 to 649. ... Emperor Tang Xuanzong (唐玄宗) (685 - 762), born Li Longji (李隆基), was the sixth emperor of the Tang dynasty of China reigining from 712 to 756. ... Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (Traditional Chinese: 五代十國 Simplified Chinese: 五代十国 Hanyu pinyin: WÇ”dàishíguó) (907-960) was a period of political upheaval in China, between the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty. ... The Jin Dynasty (金 pinyin: Jīn 1115-1234; Anchu in Jurchen), also known as the Jurchen dynasty, was founded by the Wanyan (完顏 Wányán) clan of the Jurchen, the ancestors of the Manchus who established the Qing Dynasty some 500 years later. ... The Song Dynasty (Chinese: ) was a ruling dynasty in China from 960-1279. ... The Yuan Dynasty (Chinese: ; pinyin: Yuáncháo; Mongolian: Dai Ön Yeke Mongghul Ulus) lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. ...

At first, circuits were the highest of the three-tier administrative system of China; the next two were prefectures or zhou () and counties (, also translated as "districts"). They are simultaneously inspection areas (監察區 jiān chá qū). Circuits were demoted to the second-level after the Yuan Dynasty established provinces at the very top, and remained there for the next several centuries. The zhōu (州) was a historical political division of China. ... In the context of Political divisions of China, county is the standard English translation of 县 (xiàn). ... The Yuan Dynasty (Chinese: ; pinyin: Yuáncháo; Mongolian: Dai Ön Yeke Mongghul Ulus) lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. ...

Circuits still existed as high-level, though not top-level, divisions of the Republic of China, such as Qiongya Circuit (now Hainan Province). In 1928, all circuits were replaced with committees or just completely abandoned. Motto: None Anthem(s): National Anthem of the Republic of China Capital Taipei City (de facto) Nanjing (de jure)1 Largest city Taipei City Official language(s) Mandarin (GuóyÇ”) Government Semi-presidential system  - President Chen Shui-bian  - Vice President Annette Lu  - Premier Su Tseng-chang Establishment Xinhai Revolution   - Declared... Not to be confused with the unrelated provinces of Henan and Hunan Hainan (海南; pinyin: Hǎinán) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located at the southern end of the country. ... 1928 (MCMXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ...


During the pre-modern era, Japan was divided into seven routes encompassing the islands of Honshū, Shikoku, Kyūshū. The seven defunct routes spread all over the three islands: HonshÅ« (本州 Literally Main State) is the largest island of Japan, called the Mainland; it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait. ... Shikoku (四国, four provinces) is the smallest and least populous (4,141,955 as of 2005) of the four main islands of Japan. ... Kyushu region, Japan Kyushu (九州) is the third largest island of Japan and most southerly and westerly of the four main islands. ...

  • Tōkaidō (東海道) "East Sea Route": 15 provinces (kuni)
  • Nankaidō (南海道) "South Sea Route": 6 provinces
  • Saikaidō (西海道) "West Sea Route": 8 provinces
  • Hokurikudō (北陸道) "North Mainland Route": 7 provinces
  • San'indō (山陰道) "Mountain-north Route": 8 provinces
  • San'yōdō (山陽道) "Mountain-south Route": 8 provinces
  • Tōsandō (東山道) "East Mountain Route": 13 provinces

(For the mountain south-north reference with in and yo, see Yin Yang.) Before the modern prefecture system was established, the land of Japan was divided into tens of kuni (国, countries), usually known in English as provinces. ... Kuni (国) were archaic provinces in Japan, ruled by daimyos. ... Taoists Taijitu The concept of Yin Yang originates in ancient Chinese philosophy, most likely from the observations of day turning into night and night into day. ...

In the mid-1800's, the northern island of Ezo was settled, and renamed Hokkaidō ("North Sea Route"). However, Hokkaido was never a "route" in the classical sense. It is essentially a prefecture with a different name from the other prefectures. For Ainu in J.R.R. Tolkiens fictional universe of Arda, see Ainur. ... Hokkaido listen ( ♫) (北海道 Hokkaidō, literal meaning: North Sea Route, Ainu: Mosir), formerly known as Ezo, is the second largest island of Japan. ... The term prefecture (from the Latin Praefectura) indicates the office, seat, territorial circonscription of a Prefect; consequentally, like that word, is its applied in English in relation to actual Prefects, whose title is just that (or the forms it takes in other, especially Romance, languages), in the broadest sense in...


Since the late 10th century, the do (“province”) has been the primary administrative division in Korea. See Provinces of Korea, Subdivisions of South Korea and Administrative divisions of North Korea for details. Korea (Korean: (ì¡°ì„  or 한국, see below) is a geographic area, civilization, and former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. ... This article describes the historical evolution of Koreas provinces (Do ; Hangul: 도; Hanja: 道). For detailed information on current administrative divisions, please see Administrative divisions of North Korea and Administrative divisions of South Korea. ... Administrative divisions of South Korea South Korea is divided into 1 Special City (Teukbyeolsi), 6 Metropolitan Cities (Gwangyeoksi), and 9 Provinces (Do). ... Administrative divisions of North Korea As of 2004, North Korea consisted of two directly-governed cities (Chikalshi; 직할시;直轄市), three special administrative regions with various designations, and nine provinces (Do, singular and plural; 도; 道). These 14 regions are, in turn, divided into a Special...

See also

The Courts of Assize, or Assizes, were periodic criminal courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the Quarter Sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. ... Circuit rider is a term in the United States for a professional who travels a regular circuit of locations to provide services. ... A circuit rider is a concept from the history of American Methodism. ... The prefectures of Japan are the countrys 47 sub-national jurisdictions: one metropolis (都 to), Tokyo; one circuit (道 dō), Hokkaidō; two urban prefectures (府 fu), Osaka and Kyoto; and 43 other prefectures (県 ken). ... Before the modern prefecture system was established, the land of Japan was divided into tens of kuni (国, countries), usually known in English as provinces. ...

Country subdivisions
Administrative divisions - Political divisions - Census divisions - Electoral divisions
Agency | Arrondissement | Bailiwick | Banner | Bantustan | Barony | Block | Borough | Burgh | Canton | Circle | Circuit | City | Colony | Commune | Community | Constituency | Constituent country | County | Council | Croft | Department | District | Division | Duchy | Governorate | Hamlet | Hundred | Insular area | Municipality | Neighbourhood | Oblast | Parish | Periphery | Prefecture | Presidency | Province | Regency | Region | Republic | Residency | Shire | State | Subdistrict | Subprefecture | Territory | Town | Townland | Township | Village | Vingtaine | Voivodeship | Ward
Administrative: county
Autonomous: banner | city | community | county | district | prefecture | province | region | republic | territorial unit | ward
Capital: district | region | territory
Census: division | metropolitan area | subdivision
City: council | district
Civil: parish | township
County: borough
Federal: capital | dependencies | capital district | capital territory
Local: administrative unit | council | government area
Metropolitan: borough | county | district
National: capital district | capital territory | territory
Imperial: circle | free city | province
(Native) Indian: reserve | reservation
Regional: municipality | county municipality | municipal district
Rural: council | district | municipality | sanitary district
Residential: community
Special: region | administrative region | capital district
Urban: area (U.S.: urbanized area) | district | sanitary district

[edit] See also: List of terms for subnational entities, List of subnational entities, Matrix of country subdivisions



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