LEGAL STUDIES UNIT 4
CHAPTER 7: DISPUTE RESOLUTION
TYPES OF DISPUTES
There are two main types of legal dispute: criminal and civil. Criminal law includes offences against the person, property, state, legal system and morality. Civil law includes the law of contract, consumer law and torts. Within these areas there are many different kinds of legal dispute. A specific dispute or legal problem may fall within both criminal and civil law, e.g. the David Hookes case.
A criminal action generally involves an offender – referred to as the ‘accused’ or the ‘defendant’ – and a victim. However, criminal legal proceedings occur between an individual who is accused of committing a criminal offence and the state. The reason for the state initiating criminal proceedings against the accused individual is that a criminal offence not only harms the victim but potentially endangers the community – therefore considered an offence against society. Criminal cases are between an individual and the state.
Purpose of criminal law
To sanction the accused and protect society. Their effect is to enforce the values of society. Criminal proceedings start when an offender has been reported to the police or when the police witness a crime. After being reported, the police investigate the crime. Usually a person will only be arrested if: - They have been caught in the act of committing an offence
- There are reasonable grounds to believe that they may abscond - They constitute a danger to the community
A criminal proceeding is called a prosecution. A citation for a criminal case will start with ‘R’. ‘R’ stands for the Crown. In serious cases, the Crown is the director of public prosecutions. The director of public prosecutions initiates prosecutions for indictable or serious offences heard in the County or Supreme Court. Director of public prosecutions will usually conduct committal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court. Name of the...
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