Criminal and Civil Law

Topics: Law, Criminal law, Court Pages: 4 (1660 words) Published: February 22, 2013
The English Legal System
In every society there is a need for some form of social order, which will serve and protect the public from the harm of others. Governments are set to create laws which citizens have to abide by, it is then the job of police to enforce these laws and make arrests when these laws are broken. As a country, England has a judicial system which decides a fitting punishment for criminals that have not adhered to the law. As there are many different laws and regulations in England, there are two categories in which crime is referenced, Criminal Law and Civil Law. These are general terms for two very different types of law which both have separate judicial systems. Criminal law allows the state to regulate the behaviour of citizens, whereas Civil law is when a dispute between two individuals arises, which needs the judicial system to settle (Kelly and Slapper, 2011). Categorising two types of crime requires two different judicial systems. Criminal cases are usually heard in a Magistrates’, a Crown, or in the R v Maloney (1985) case, a Supreme Court. Civil cases can usually be heard in the Magistrates, County or High Court, however both Criminal and Civil cases can be brought forward to a court of appeal after a decision has been passed. In a Criminal case the state would be looking for a custodial sentence or an alternative such as a fine, community order, etc. A civil case on the other hand looks for civil litigation sometimes in the form of compensation. In a Criminal court case, a higher standard of proof is required, evidence must be ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ for a criminal to be prosecuted. However, in civil cases the evidence is judged ‘on the balance of probability’ since in a civil case no one can have their human rights restricted by being given a custodial sentence, the evidence does not have to be as accurate as it would have to be in a criminal court case. Smaller Civil cases can be brought before the magistrates’ and county...
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