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English Legal System

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Essay title: English Legal System

Question 1.

The most fundamental distinction between civil and criminal law is the concept of punishment:

1. The criminal law:

• Criminal Law regulates offences affecting community as a whole; crime is committed against the state.

• In criminal law defendant is punished either by fine paid to the government or imprisonment.

• In criminal litigation burden of proof is always on the state which must prove beyond reasonable doubt guiltiness of the defendant.

• The Criminal Law is executed in Criminal Courts;

Magistrate Court Crown Court High Court Court of Appeal

House of Lords

• Jury in Criminal Law Courts decides if defendant if guilty or not, Judge find for him appropriate to crime sentence.

• Sentence is the final act of punishment in criminal law if defendant is found guilty.

• Criminal Courts are financed from public founds.

2. The civil law

• The civil law regulates disputes between individuals within the community without involvement of the state.

• A civil case is called loins or an action in civil litigation a losing defendant has to compensate the plaintiff losses.

• In civil cases the plaintiff wins if predominance of evidence favourites him, the balance of probability is on his site.

• The Civil Law is executed in the Civil Courts;

County Courts High Court Court of Appeal House of Lords

• Judge in Civil Law Courts decides which side of the dispute is right and orders gratification for wining plaintiff.

• In civil cases possible is agreement between parties in dispute which means that case can be finished without decision from the judge.

• Civil Courts are financed from private founds; losing site has to pay all legal costs.

Mr Williams case is going to be heard firstly in a magistrate court where is going to be assessed how serious offence it is, because production, supplying and possessing for supply of controlled drugs (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971) is seen as a drug trafficking his case can go to the Crown Court where he can be imprisoned for up to 5 years of fined without any limitations, if his case will be heard in magistrate court he can be sentenced for 6 months in prison or fined maximally £2000.

It is very likely that his case is going to be heard in magistrate court.

Question 2.

Magistrate courts – the inferior courts in the criminal courts structure, the majority cases heard in these courts are minor and petty offences (Summary Offences) 95% criminal cases is completed there. Cases heard in the Magistrates courts are heard by panel of the three Magistrates (justice of peace) supported by legally trained clerk. Appointed by crown Magistrates do not have legal qualification, this is often pointed as a main disadvantage related to this function but they are legally supported by the clerk who has to be a solicitor or a barrister. Magistrates can not order sentences of imprisonment higher than 6 months or fines higher than £5000. The Magistrates’ courts carry certain civil work: family cases, licensing the sale of the alcohol, gambling and enforce local authority charges.

Crown courts deal with criminal cases referred from the Magistrate courts and hear appeals against the decisions from the Magistrate courts. These courts deal with Indictable Offences and Either-way Offences which can be heard in the Magistrate courts and the Crown Courts. Trials in these courts are heard by a jury of 12 people. Jurors are chosen at random from the Electoral Roll to serve in a Jury, they do not have legal qualifications, they role is to decide whenever defendant is seen as a guilty or not. It is enough if 10 Jurors out of 12 give verdict “guilty”

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