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

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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. Criminal law can be seen as a set of rules and regulations which, if broken, will result in a punishment of either loss or liberty or a fine. In a Criminal case an offender is found guilty of a criminal offence, and he/she may be sentenced by the judge. In a Civil case there is no guilty party. The aim of Civil law is not to punish a wrongdoer but to compensate the victim who has suffered by the actions of another person doing wrong. There is no guilty party because a person may be responsible for an act without realising or meaning to do wrong. There is no possibility of a person being sent to prison for a Civil wrong. Civil law exists primarily to compensate the victim(s), therefore it is clear that Criminal law is regarded as being more serious than Civil, as a Criminal conviction is seen to have harsher consequences on a persons reputation than those of a failure in a Civil case.

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Both Criminal and Civil law differ in the standard of proof which is required for both. 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 ...

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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. Rating: ****