Objective of access to justice

Define one area from the background of the law elements (Criminal, Civil, tribunals etc) Giving a critical appreciation of the effectiveness of your chosen area in satisfying the objective of access to justice. The term Civil Law describes those systems, which have developed out of Romano-Germanic legal tradition of continental Europe. It is the civil law tradition that dominates within the present European Community. Underlying a number of practical variations, there is, ultimately, a rather different way of thinking about law within each tradition.

In Civilian systems one can conventionally identify a higher level of conceptualism, reflected in a theoretically complex 'institutional basis' of Civil Law. This is sometimes said to create a more 'scientific' or rational legal system than the highly pragmatic tradition of the Common Law. It can be said that the dependence upon descriptive categories may actually hold back new developments in English Law, due to the lack of conceptual apparatus to incorporate change easily. The modern civil tradition is chiefly based upon principles of codified law.

The assumption underlying a codified legal system is that it is possible to create a set of texts containing an authoritative statement of the law, usually in the form of Civil and Criminal 'Codes', or sub-divisions thereof. In the common law, a codifying act is primarily a tidying-up operation. It is a piece of legislation, which brings together all the existing law on a topic, both statute and case law, and converts it into a single entity- the codifying Act. An oft-cited example is the original Sale of Goods Act 1893. The aim of tidying-up is one with the codifying Acts share with the continental codes.

However, by contrast with the continent, codification in England has been used as a limited means of imposing legislative coherence on a particularly problematic area of law, such as the sale of goods or the law relating to theft. What English codifications have not done is to produce a complete restatement of the whole of, say Commercial or Criminal Law in a statutory form. The Law Commission in its Report of 1985 first proposed the codification of the English Criminal Law. However, its approach has been to advance a far more gradual and particularistic codification process than originally envisaged as in the Cases of Bi??

rca & Gardner(1990) and the later case of Gardner (1992). It follows therefore, in theory, codification reduces the role of the Civil law courts to simply interpreting and applying the law of the Code. Common law lawyers have traditionally argued that Civilian Judges have not had the dual roles of their Common law counterparts, that is , being both interpreters of legislation and custodians of a distinct body of case law. Therefore questioning access to justice in the civil arena. In truth, that difference has probably been over-emphasized, so that we are in danger of missing the significance of case law in Europe.

In many European states the law is not fully codified, many countries have their own system of precedent, some of which are not so far removed from the English practice. Paradoxically, perhaps, the way in which the codes tend to be structured leaves European judges with far more discretion in interpretation than their English counterparts are supposed to have, thus it can be said that too rigid an adherence to precedent can cause injustice within the law as was seen in the case of Saunders Ltd. V Anglia Building Co. Civil and Criminal cases are processed differently in the English legal system.

They use different procedures and vocabulary, and are dealt with, on the whole by different courts. It is very important not to confuse the vocabularies of the different systems, and speak, for example, about a claimant 'prosecuting' a company for breach of contract. The law of contract is civil law, so the defendant would be 'sued' or 'litigated against' or have a 'claim brought' taken against it by the claimant. The question of " What is the difference between a crime and a civil wrong? " also arises in pursuit of justice.

The answer can be found simply by building up a general legal knowledge. There is nothing inherent in any particular conduct that makes it criminal. One cannot say, for example, that serious wrongs are crimes and that lesser transgressions will be civil wrongs: some serious crimes are comparatively trivial, like some parking offences, whilst some civil wrongs can have enormously harmful consequences, as where a company in breach of a contract causes financial harm to thousands of people. The organization of civil courts is currently undergoing a period of relatively rapid change.

A highly detailed study of the business of the civil courts was undertaken by the Civil Justice Review, which was instituted by Lord Hailsham, the then Lord Chancellor in 1985. The purpose of the review was to improve the machinery of the civil justice by means of reforms in jurisdiction, procedure and court administration. In particular the review was concerned with reducing costs, delays and complexity of process. 'High quality justice' has been identified as the main objective in all parts of the civil court process.

Following the Civil Procedure Act 1997, the changes have been effected through the new Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 1998. These have been supplemented by practice directions and pre-action protocols. The CPR is kept under constant review and there are regular updates; between 1999 and March 2003 there have been some 31 amendments. The reforms work towards conflict resolution as the main purpose for civil legal proceedings, rather than a case being a prolonged opportunity for lawyers to demonstrate a range of legalistic skills.

The main features of the new civil process are as follows: -The case control -Court allocation and tracking -The documentation and procedures. The overriding objective of the new CPR is to enable the court to deal justly with cases, thus allowing the civil arena of law to deal with justice over certainty therefore proving that the codification of the common law is not always an essential element when discussing access to justice.