Families of Law

In Great Britain, the Theft Act of 1968 is an Act of the Parliament of the UK. It governs most of the general property offenses in English law. Theft is defined as a person shall be guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it. Any person convicted of theft is punishable by imprisonment of up to seven years. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/introduction)

• What type of legal proceedings could she expect? What type of punishment might be applied? The legal proceedings to be expected in Great Britain are similar to those of the United States. Their legal system is based on common law or stare decisis which are the principal that similar cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so they will reach similar results (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law). She will be tried in a court called the "Crown Court".

This court usually hears all criminal cases. It consists of one judge and maybe a jury (http://www.jura.uni-duesseldorf.de/aal/AAR/SoSe04/einf_text6.pdf). If she is convicted and found guilty of theft, she could face up to seven years in prison as a result. She may also receive a fine and/or community services.

• Identify any other factors for consideration. Would the fact that your friend is female impact her treatment under the law in this country?

The fact that she is a female has no bearing on the outcome of the court proceeding or the sentencing. In the eyes of the legal system in Great Britain, she is treated as an equal no matter her sex, age, race or religion as opposed to other countries. The legal system of England is a common law one, so the decisions of the senior appellate court become law. The UK is part of the European Union (EU), which means that EU law takes precedence over UK law. The European Union is an economic and political union comprised of 27

member states which are located in Europe. It ensures the free movement of people, goods, services and capital, enacts legislation in justice and home affairs and maintains common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union).

Name of Country: France Family of law followed: Civil law

How disputes are settled: Inquisitorial model

How cases are handled: The judges arbitrate between the prosecution and the defense. The French judicial system does not have recourse to juries.

In this section, discuss the following:

How would your friend’s theft be dealt with under the law in this country?

The legal system in France is based on civil law. These laws are set out in the Civil Code of France. Theft is a pecuniary offense and is governed by Criminal Code called Code Napoleon or Code Civil. This Code is governed by doctrines and they use these doctrines to fashion a code by which all legal controversies are decided (http://law.jrank.org/pages/5235/Civil-Law.html). Judges are expected to follow decisions that agree on the interpretation of a code.

What type of legal proceedings could she expect? What type of punishment might be applied?

The proceedings would be more of an arbitration type proceeding. In order for the process to start, a private party has to file a law suit against the defendant and, in turn, becomes the plaintiff. The judge plays an active role in the investigation of the case. One judge will work with investigators to compile a written dossier on the case and take it to the two other judges. From this point, a panel of three judges or magistrates will read the dossier and litigate the case, not attorneys.

A decision will be drawn from here. This process is characteristic of the inquisitorial model. In a case of theft, such as petty theft, it is considered a misdemeanor and under civil law it would involve investigation by civil servants called procurators (Law and Society, p 57). The case would be tried under civil law and a defendant in civil litigation is never incarcerated and never executed.

A losing defendant in a civil litigation is only expected to reimburse the plaintiff for the goods stolen. Punitive damages are usually never awarded unless the defendant had malicious intent or gross negligence. If damages are awarded and the defendant does not have assets or insurance, the plaintiff will receive nothing even though the court awarded monetary damages (http://www.rbs2.com/cc.htm).

Identify any other factors for consideration. Would the fact that your friend is female impact her treatment under the law in this country?

In France, the fact that she is a female would not have an impact on the outcome of her crime. The same process would apply whether she is female or male. In civil law, the wrongdoer is not punished; he only suffers so much harm as is necessary to make good the wrong he or she has done (http://www.rbs2.com/cc.htm). The criminal label you would have imposed upon you seems to be suffering enough, for most, under civil law. When a felony crime is committed, the process is has more depth to it. Examining magistrates take on the task of investigated the crime.

He or she has the final say so as to whether or not the case goes to trial. The good thing hear is the fact that the judges take a part in the process from the start. Even a person claiming guilt is tried to make sure they are really guilty and not just saying they are. Americans do not that. A confession of guilty puts you away for quite some time. I favor this process much more so than I do common law. It seems to be a lot less harsh and they get great results out of it.

Name of Country: Saudi Arabia Family of law followed: Theocratic law

How disputes are settled: Punished or settled according to the Koran, Shariah or applicable religious text

How cases are handled: Cases are handled according to the offense. Crimes are punishable by a community and not an individual in a case of robbery.

In this section, discuss the following:

How would your friend’s theft be dealt with under the law in this country?

Saudi Arabia is notorious for cutting off the hands of thieves but a thief has to steal a substantial amount in order for this to happen. For a petty theft offense, a hand is not taken unless it is repeated theft and proven by two male eyewitnesses. If the thief repents and makes restitution before coming in front of a judge, the punishment can be reduced (http://www.photius.com/countries/saudi_arabia/national_security/saudi_arabia_national_security_crime_and_punishment.html).

What type of legal proceedings could she expect? What type of punishment might be applied?

The Saudi Arabian legal system is based on the sharia or Islamic law. The judges or qadis are men who have an extensive knowledge and study of the sharia. The courts consist of courts of first instance and a court of appeals. One judge resides over the general court in cases of petty theft but in major theft cases three qadis' will sit in (http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/51.htm). The defendant is sentenced according to what is written in Islamic law and is executed before eyewitnesses under oath. If the eyewitnesses cannot be produced, then the punishment cannot be executed. Theft is punished by imprisonment or amputation of hands and feet depending on the number of repeated offenses and the item that was stolen (http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia).

Identify any other factors for consideration. Would the fact that your friend is female impact her treatment under the law in this country?

For crimes of petty theft in Saudi Arabia, the sex of the individual doesn't relate to the outcome of the proceeding according to Islamic law. It is based on circumstances, item of theft and the repeated offenses of theft. Other crimes, such as adultery, are punishable by stoning. There have been many violations against women in these countries that should not have taken place according to Islamic law. Some of these countries are taking the law into their own hands and punishing women for reasons not seen in the eyes of Allah. They are being brutally beaten, raped and killed over things that are considered normal in Western society. The pain these

women are suffering is imaginable and I do not agree with this type of punishment. I could not follow a law such as this. According to the law, it states the impact of treatment should not matter whether you're male or female unless the crime involves adultery. In order for a women to be convicted of this crime, she must have four men witness the crime of adultery before she can be convicted of it. This is in accordance to Islamic law but like I mentioned before the people of this country are applying there own law. They are convicting and punishing these women anyway whether or not it is evident. So, in an instance of theft by a female I strongly believe she would be punished because of her sex whether she had the eyewitnesses or not (Law and Society, p 65).

Name of Country: China Family of law followed: Socialist law

How disputes are settled: Popular tribunals

How cases are handled: Conventional, formal system

In this section, discuss the following:

How would your friend’s theft be dealt with under the law in this country?

The National People's Congress or its standing committee determines what is considered a criminal act and what is considered unlawful. They consider the extent of the circumstances and consequences and set forth a fixed amount enumerated in Chinese currency to determine the consequence of the offense. This is called a trigger amount. For example, a bribe will only be considered an offense if the bribe exceeds 5000 Yuan. Criminal law applies if it reaches the specified minimum. If it does not reach the minimum, it is only punishable by administrative penalties (http://law.jrank.org/pages/643/Comparative-Criminal-Law-Enforcement-China-Concept-crime.html).

What type of legal proceedings could she expect? What type of punishment might be applied?

The first trial is conducted by an intermediate people's court. If the sentence concludes execution, then the case is appealed to the High people's court. Then another appeal takes place at the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China. If the court is in agreeance of the original sentence, the execution takes place right then.

The court will use capital punishment in cases of theft of cultural relics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China). If the offense is considered an administrative offense or public-order offense, there is not a hearing and the police will make the decision. Crimes such as petty theft are punishable by a warning, a fine or detention of not more than fifteen days.

Identify any other factors for consideration. Would the fact that your friend is female impact her treatment under the law in this country?

In China, it is frowned upon, publicly, if you are a woman committing any type of crime. The sentencing for the crime is the same, regardless of the sex. The punishment of crime seems to be extensive in drug crimes or murder. If you are a convicted felon, it becomes more than just a conviction. It transforms the convicted into an enemy of the state. The police and the courts seem to be places of dictatorship. Criminalization basically means repression.

Name of Country: Navajo Reservation- Arizona Family of law followed: Traditional law

How disputes are settled: Compromise solutions such as mediation

How cases are handled: Reconciliation and Restitution

In this section, discuss the following:

How would your friend’s theft be dealt with under the law in this country? Under traditional law, the law is based on unwritten rules and customs. These smaller communities value relationships versus punishment and retribution. They typically use mediation to reconcile their disputes. The Navajo Indian reservation has its own court system. It operates under traditional law comprised of Navajo common law and consensus-oriented judicial procedure. It is said that "Harmony, peacefulness, and kinship are guiding principles in Navajo culture. They all contribute to amicable resolution of disputes.

The primary goal of Navajo traditional dispute resolution is to heal relationships among people and maintain the kinship structure" (http://www.uanews.org/node/30111). Navajo Peacemaking occurs outside the halls of formal justice. It does not admit lawyers, judges or legal support systems. What we use and call a mediator is called a naat 'aanii in the Navajo court system. Their role is to reflect the conflict brought before him/her within the context of traditional Navajo common law (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/187675.pdf).

What type of legal proceedings could she expect? What type of punishment might be applied? The legal proceedings are simple. An empowered authority does not render judgment or sentencing in a case. In Navajo Peacemaking, the outcome comes from the talking out of the dispute. The naat 'bcinii is used as a guide and the disputants are the decision makers. The focus is on relational healing between the disputants and not on victim reconciliation. These types of disputes usually extend beyond the individual into the community and affect the community as a whole. The idea emerges from the idea of relationships. If one of the participants is fine, it is because it was a mutual agreement between the two disputants (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/187675.pdf).

Identify any other factors for consideration. Would the fact that your friend is female impact her treatment under the law in this country? The fact that she is a female would not have an impact on the outcome of this case. She would be treated the same under the laws of the Navajo. They have a system unlike any other. Their system of justice is one of peace and harmony. All disputes are to be solved between the two participants in a case. It is a process of healing and truth. The peacemakers are not impartial and the direction they offer is taken from traditional Navajo wisdom narratives. Its focus seems to be relational and healing as opposed to victim reconciliation and evidence is not always objective. The hearing conforms to the Navajo experience of hozho which is a condition of solidarity, balance and harmony within one's self and within one's relations (Bluehouse, P. and J. Zion (1996).

References: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/introduction http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union http://www.rbs2.com/cc.htm

http://law.jrank.org/pages/5235/Civil-Law.html http://www.photius.com/countries/saudi_arabia/national_security/saudi_arabia_national_security_crime_and_punishment.html http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia http://www.photius.com/countries/saudi_arabia/national_security/saudi_arabia_national_security_crime_and_punishment.html

http://law.jrank.org/pages/643/Comparative-Criminal-Law-Enforcement-China-Concept-crime.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China Law and Society: An Introduction, by Steven E. Barkan. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2009 by Pearson Education, Inc. Bluehouse, P. and J. Zion (1996). Hozhooji Naat’aanii: The Navajo Justice and Harmony Ceremony. Native Americans, Crime, and Justice. M. Nielsen and R. A. Silverman. Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press: 1 8 1 - 1 89. http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/American_Indian_law http://www.uanews.org/node/30111