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A citizen is any member of a state who is formally recognised as a citizen by that state.

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Introduction

PART ONE - CITIZENSHIP What is a citizen? A citizen is any member of a state who is formally recognised as a citizen by that state. The concept of citizenship is therefore legalistic. Citizens are individuals who have some sort of legal status within a state - they have been granted certain rights by the state & are expected to perform certain duties: "The citizen should be understood in the first instance not as a type of person...but as a position in the set of formal relationships defined by democratic sovereignty" (Donald 1996, p.174) The precise range & balance between the rights granted to citizens & the duties that they are expected to perform varies from time to time & from state to state. Where exactly do political rights come from? The question of where political rights come from has concerned political philosophers for centuries. The distinction is often made between natural rights & positive rights. 1. Natural Rights Political theorists who acknowledge that there are natural rights argue that certain rights are universally applicable to all societies. ...read more.

Middle

They are part of the British uncodified constitution. Some of these rights & liberties are the product of custom & convention. Others are contained in written documents, namely Acts of Parliament. British citizens enjoy the following rights & liberties: * Freedom of movement * Freedom from arbitrary arrest or unjustified police searches * Freedom of conscience in matters of religion & politics * Freedom of expression * Freedom of association, including the right to protest peacefully * Social freedoms, such as the right to marry, divorce, procure abortions or enjoy homosexual relations * The right to vote & to stand for election * The right to a fair trial * The right not to be coerced or tortured by agents of the state * The right not to be subjected to surveillance without due legal process * The right to own property Summary * Citizens are individuals who have some sort of legal status within a state - they have been granted certain rights by the state & are expected to perform certain duties * Some theorists argue that rights are natural (granted by God or nature). ...read more.

Conclusion

Since criminal offences are regarded as offences against the state, most cases in England & Wales are brought by the Crown Prosecution Service on the state's behalf. People accused of theft or murder, for example, are tried in criminal courts. Punishment ranges from fines & community service to long-term imprisonment. Civil law Civil law is concerned with the relationships between individuals & groups. It deals with disputes which arise over matters such as the making of contracts or wills, accusations of libel & slander or the custody of children after divorce. Individuals or organisations who lose a case in a civil court are not punished in the same way as in a criminal case. Rather, they are ordered to recompense the other party in some way - for example, by paying damages or handing over the rights to property or the custody of children. Due to their different objectives, the criminal & civil systems operate within different court structures, though these come together at the highest level. The Legal System in England & Wales A hierarchical system The legal system in England & Wales is organised hierarchically. Superior courts hear more serious cases and re-examine, on appeal, cases which were first brought to the lower courts. Koran McAuliffe Page 1 5/4/2007 ...read more.

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