lec 1 - Criminal Law Lecture One 8th October 2007 The...

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Criminal Law Lecture One 8 th October 2007 The distinction between civil and criminal law: Eg: Victim lends D a car, D refuses to return it. 1. D can be prosecuted for theft under the Theft Act 1988 - Criminal 2. V can begin an action for trespass on goods – Civil 1. While criminal law is about public wrongs, torts or civil wrongs are about the ‘regulation of the relationship between two private individuals’. Criminal law on the other hand regulates the relationship between the citizen and the state. However both criminal and civil law are fundamentally about social regulation. 2. The protection of the individual from the state: Criminal law is composite of stringent regulations to prevent arbitrary abuse of power by the state 3. The primary objective of civil law is compensation; however criminal law is more about blame, stigma and punishment as opposed to placing the victim in the situation he/she was before the unlawful act. 4. The idea of ‘blameworthyness’ is a common concept between both divisions of law. In Crime it is determined with ‘Mens Rea’ or the guilty mind/ intention of culpable mind frame. In civil law, we look at the conduct, duty, harm caused and negligence to assess the same idea. Sources of Criminal Law: 1. Statutory offences compose of up to 12, 000 criminal offences, and the new labour administration alone have added 3000 of these offences. Most of these offences are regulatory offences such as quality of food and such which are very low level criminal offences. This type of conduct alone being included under the header of crime blurs the line between civil law and criminal due to their nature and purpose as discussed earlier. In his article [ LOOK AT HANDOUT ], Andrew Ashworth, discusses whether we have lost the purpose or power of the criminal legal system by allowing the government to add so many new offences indiscriminately. 2. Common law: (i) Criminal law’s main source was judge based law, and this was prior to the predominance of civil law. The most important criminal offences like homicide came from common law established in the 1700’s. This has not been codified to date. (ii) From the case law we can see that the criminal law has to stretch itself by current definition to prosecute new offences.
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(iii) In Manley , D had deliberately wasted the police’s time and there was no previous offence to prosecute such conduct, thereby the judges invented a ‘public mischief’ offence. This is against one of the fundamental principles
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2012 for the course ECO 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Texas State.

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lec 1 - Criminal Law Lecture One 8th October 2007 The...

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