Common Law and Civil Law

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Topic 1: Distinguish between the role of criminal law and civil law in relation to the legal system and analyse the purpose of the law. Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is prohibited by the state because it is held to threaten, harm or otherwise endanger the safety and welfare of the public, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on those who breach these laws. [1] The criminal law serves several purposes and benefits society by maintaining order, resolving disputes, protecting individuals and property, providing for smooth functioning of society and safeguarding civil liberties.[2] Civil law seeks to resolve non-criminal disputes such as disagreements over the meaning of contracts, property ownership, divorce, child custody, and damages for personal and property damage. A civil court will attempts to remedy the dispute between individuals by determining their legal rights, awarding money damages to the injured party, or directing one party to perform or refrain from performing a specific act. The function of civil law is to provide a legal remedy to solve problems.[3] In civil law, a case commences when a complaint is filed by a party, which may be an individual, an organization, a company or a corporation, against another party. The party complaining is called the plaintiff and the party responding is called the defendant and the process is called litigation. In contrast, in criminal law, the case is filed by the government, usually referred to as the State and represented by a prosecutor, against a defendant. [4] In punishment, in case of criminal law a person found guilty is punished by incarceration in a prison, a fine, or in some occasion’s death penalty. Defendant can be found guilty or not. Whereas, in case of civil law the losing party has to reimburse the plaintiff, the amount of loss which is determined by the judge and is called


References: : [1] Wikipedia - Common Law [2] http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/entry/commonla [3] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Common+law+system [4] Wikipedia - Separation of Powers [5] Wikipedia - Primary Legislation [6] Wikipedia - Bill (Proposed Law) [7] Wikipedia - Delegated Legislation

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