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Discuss the essential differences between Civil and Criminal Law particularly in relation to their aims and objectives.

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Introduction

Discuss the essential differences between Civil and Criminal Law particularly in relation to their aims and objectives. Justice should be the upholding of rights and the punishment of wrongs by the law. Any society has a duty to its citizens to do the best it can to provide them with laws, which, if obeyed, will give them a reasonably safe environment. These laws will also form a framework in which to live our lives. Whether in criminal or civil law we each have a responsibility for our actions towards others. Criminal law is the upholding of standards and punishing those who break laws and offend against society. Civil law is concerned with compensating the victims of injustice- " The Criminal Justice System exists to help protect us from crime, and to ensure that criminals are punished. The Civil Justice is there to help people resolve their disputes fairly and peacefully"(Lord Irvine of Lairg, Lord Chancellor, Modernising Justice 1998) One main difference between Civil and Criminal law is their sole purpose. Both Civil and criminal law has main aims however they differ quite substantially. ...read more.

Middle

The phrase "Beyond reasonable doubt" is very significant when talking about the standard of proof required for a Criminal conviction. The accused in a Criminal case must be proved guilty beyond all reasonable doubt for a conviction to be made. This is because the rules of evidence are much stricter in a Criminal case, for example- a confession must be examined very carefully to see if any pressure was put on the accused to confess, however In a Civil case a confession will be readily accepted. This shows how much more serious a Criminal case is considered in relation to a Civil one. The Claimant in a Civil case only has to prove that his case is marginally stronger than that of the defendant in order to succeed. The Civil standard generally openly tolerates a substantial margin of error. As in many countries, England has found if convenient to set up separate systems for Criminal cases and Civil cases. Therefore both have different courts. The Criminal court structure is progressive, this means that all cases start at the Magistrate's court, and the more serious cases move on trial to the Crown court. ...read more.

Conclusion

Under the criminal law a person who has offended may be prosectued by the state, if found guilty this will punish them and leave them with a criminal record hopefully prevent them from crime again. In Civil law this is not so. The defendant is never found guilty, and is never punished. A Civil case is between individuals, a Criminal case is the action of the state against an individual, this is because the criminal has offended against society and so he/she is punished by society as a whole, in the name of the queen. In conclusion, It is important to note that the same series of events may give rise to both a Criminal and a Civil case. For example if a person has exceeded the speed limit and driven carelessly causing and accident and damaging another person's car, they can be faced with two main consequences. Under the Criminal law they may be prosecuted by society for driving offences, and under Civil law they may be sued by the injured party or their insurance company for damage to the car and any injury caused. In this case they would be forced to pay compensation. ...read more.

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Summary - this is a well written piece which brings out most of the differences between the civil and criminal justice and court systems.
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Marked by teacher Nick Price 01/05/2013

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