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Free «Introduction to the Law» Essay Sample

Criminal law and civil law differs in many aspects ranging from their definitions, burden of proof, punishment, case file, to examples. To begin with, criminal law can be defined as the body of common law as well as statutory that is involved with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. Civil law on the other hand deals with the disputes between organizations, individuals, or between the two in which case the victim is awarded with compensation. In civil law the private party holds the case file whereas the government holds the case file in criminal law. Examples of civil cases include; landlord and tenant disputes, proceedings of child custody, property disputes, etc. examples of criminal cases are; assault, wanton endangerment, alcohol intoxication, trafficking in controlled substance, theft, robbery, etc. The defendant is either guilty or not guilty in a criminal case whereas both the plaintiff and the defendant may be found partially right as well as partially fault in a civil case.

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Criminal and civil law differs in the issue they deal with. Criminal law is when a person breaks the law as stipulated in the basic morals of a society while civil law is the law breaking because someone said so like parking violations. When one is convicted of a criminal offence, he can lose his freedom and also be levied an offence while for a civil conviction one does lose his freedom but can have a fine levied on them and loss of privileges. The other main difference between the two is the burden of proof. In criminal law one has to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the offence happened for a conviction to be passed but in civil suits just the preponderance of evidence is needed. Meaning that you only need to prove something could have likely happened for the conviction to hold.

 
 
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Another fundamental difference between criminal and civil law is the punishment notion. Looking at criminal law in reference to punishment, punishment for a guilt defendant is either by, fine paid to the government, incarceration in a prison or jail, or in unique cases the defendant is executed. Under criminal law crimes are categorized into misdemeanors in which case the defendant has a maximum probable sentence of less than a year incarceration and felonies in which case a maximum possible sentence is imposed for a period of more than one year incarceration.

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On the other hand, punishment for a defendant in civil litigation is not usually incarcerated and in addition, there are never executions. In civil litigation, a defendant only reimburses the plaintiff for the caused losses by the behavior of the defendant. In civil cases under contract law, the so-called punitive damages are never awarded. There is a possibility of punitive damages in civil case under tort law if the conduct of the defendant is egregious as well as had gross intent, a malicious intent, or a willful disregard for others rights. The defendant by imposing punitive damage on him acts as a public example and is supposedly meant to deter wrongful conduct by others in the future. Torts involving dignitary harms as well as civil rights can be addresses using punitive damages where the real monetary injury is small to the plaintiff. For tort claims, one can purchase insurance that will pay attorney's fees as well as pay for damages. A defendant is not in a position to purchase insurance for paying for his or her criminal acts. The plaintiff receives nothing in case the defendant has no assets and without insurance as well while a court may order a defendant to pay damages. Additionally, the plaintiff may not receive anything if the defendant is concealing assets skillfully. Following this, huge awards for plaintiff are often an illusion in tort cases (Standler 1998).

 
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In reference to the case of Ned Flanders who has an injury resulting when he collapse of a staffroom in Nil Good College we can say the case would be either be placed in three categories of tracks in the court systems. They are either small track, fast track or multi track depending on the amount of monetary claims. So depending on the amount Ned is suing the College for will determine the track his suit will be placed. For small track claims on pain and injury should not exceed $1,000 for it to qualify for the small track. For the fast track claims it must not exceed $15,000 any other claim beyond this will be in the multi track. However for the case of Ned it would probably be in the small track since his injury is that one that can heal so he is not incapacitated for while (Soule 1973).

Lord Wolf noticed that civil cases that they were taking too long, the cost of litigation were too high ad also the law jargon used in these proceedings were preventing people from accessing justice effectively. The reforms he proposed said that the simplified language was to be used so that all could understand. He also proposed that the cases be dealt with depending on the amount of money the suit involved to avoid unnecessary expenses. The other reform was court resources be allocated to a case and also the claimant to be the determining factor rather than the plaintiff. He also said it should be made that all the cases were dealt with as soon as possible to avoid delays. This has led to cases being dealt with more quick since timetables have been drafted and cost analysis done so the costs have been reduced drastically.

 
 
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Looking at different members of the legal profession we can differentiate the work they undertake. The first is a barrister is a lawyer name mainly used in England. His work is to argue out a case on behalf of someone in a court of law. Traditionally, the duty of a barrister is advocacy in which case they present in court cases, their ability is to speak as well as think quickly as the evidence unfold. A solicitor briefs the barrister. The barrister is however to a fair extent independent of the solicitor and can depend on a personal judgment concerning how to conduct a case. Occasionally, barristers advocates in magistrates' courts but they work mainly in the Crown Court, in appeal courts, or the High Court. Barristers provide advice on litigation as well as drafting litigation related documents. Majority of barristers have graduated with law degrees and they undertake another professional training. Barristers practice solely but they share premises more often.

A solicitor on the other hand is still a lawyer but it is the term generally used in the Unites States. His work is still to argue out a case on behalf of someone based on the legal framework of the land. Solicitors' carryout in magistrates courts as well as county courts most of the work. However, litigation is only a small portion of the entire solicitor's profession. Most solicitors are engaged in commercial work associating to business for example, dealing with corporate matters, land, share, commercial transactions as well as other property dealings. A large amount of private client work is available but does not involve any litigation for instance, making wills, advising on tax matters, conveyance of houses, and many more. Majority of solicitors have graduated with a degree in Law. Additionally, for them to practice, they undergo professional training by a one year Legal Practice Course as well as two year training under contract with an already practicing solicitor. Mainly, solicitors operate in large partnerships. In England a solicitor undergoes training to become a barrister.

The work of a judge is to listen to a case and apply the legal framework to pass on judgment. He has the mandate to determine the punishment reasonable for an offence or dismiss a case due to lack evidence. Judges preside over trials as well as listen as attorneys represent their clients. To make their ruling, judges rule on evidence admissibility as well as the methods of carrying out testimonies. They may be requested to settle disputes among opposing attorneys. Additionally, judges ensure that procedures as well as rules are adhered to. Judges interpret the law to determine how the trial will proceed if unusual circumstances come up for which standard procedure haven't been established.

A magistrate does the same work as a judge but has a lower rank to a judge and is thus assigned to lower ranking courts. His decision can be impeached by the judge when the case is appealed. As for the jury this is usually a team of people who have no legal background put in a court room together with judge to listen to the case. At the end of the case they hen determine whether the plaintiff is guilty or not. However the team of jurors is usually in criminal suits where the case has to be proven beyond any reasonable doubt for them to determine their view of the case. They usually make a unanimous decision for the decision to hold except in a few states like Louisiana (Howard &Gold 1978).

   

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