Terminology and Functions of Criminal Law

Being the law student, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with and use of accurately the terminology relevant to criminal law.

Different terminology is used in criminal proceedings to that, which is used in civil proceedings.

For example, in criminal proceedings, a prosecution is brought by the state.

The crown whereas in tort and contract an individual sues another individual or a body.

in criminal law, the state prosecutes a defendant whereas in tort and contract an individual Sue’s another person.

Criminal law is concerned with the prosecution of individuals, whose behavior or conduct has not met the standards of acceptable behavior expected of citizens. These individuals have committed a public wrong.

The law of tort and contract law governed the law relating to private wrongs.

In criminal proceedings, a verdict is delivered at the end of the trial, according to which the defendant will usually either be found guilty or not guilty.

Criminal law is concerned with the punishment of offenders and a defendant who has been found guilty convicted of a criminal offense will be sentenced.

Sentences ranged from terms of imprisonment to community sentences, such as community punishment orders and community rehabilitation orders and fines.

A defendant who is found not guilty is acquitted

By contrast, at the conclusion of a civil trial, there will be a finding that the defendant was either liable or not liable.

Civil law is concerned with compensating the wronged individual through the payment of damages

The criminal law performs a number of different functions

In order to critically evaluate cases legislation and policy decisions, you must pay attention to knowing and understanding the functions that the criminal law performs.

Here are the functions of criminal law:

  • the law sets standards of behavior, which citizens must meet and these standards reflect the values of society such as morality or religion;
  • criminal law prohibits conduct, which threatens or causes harm to individuals or to the wider public.

The criminal justice system is punitive punishing defendants for criminal conduct.

Another argument often put forward in favor of criminalizing certain conduct is that of deterrence

It is argued that if certain behavior is deemed to be criminal, then members of the society will refrain from such conduct

By punishing offenders, the criminal justice system seeks to encourage other members of the society to comply with the law.

Terminology and Functions of Criminal Law