One of the main differences between criminal cases and civil cases is
that they are held in different courts, this is because there is a
significant distinction between a civil wrong and a criminal wrong.
Crimes are considered to be a type of wrongdoing, however civil wrongs
tend to have only an impact on the parties involved in the case. For
example: a breach of contract. Where as criminal wrongs tend to have
an impact on society itself. For example: a murder, theft or rape.
Criminal law is dealt with in the Magistrates court and if very
serious in the Crown court. It is said to be more difficult to win a
case in the Magistrates court and Crown court than in a civil court as
in a magistrates and crown court the evidence has to be proved beyond
doubt and in a civil court evidence can be proved on a balance of
Criminal and civil cases are dealt with in different courts of trial.
There are two courts for criminal cases, the magistrate's court and
the crown court. In a magistrates court lay magistrates hear most
cases normally in groups of three. Lay magistrates are part time,
unpaid and do not need a legal qualification, however they are
assisted by a legally qualified clerk who may advise if requested.
Some, but very few cases may be heard by District |Judges. District
judges are legally qualified, full time and paid, they sit alone and
hear the longer and more difficult cases. Only summary offences such
as motor offences and minor assaults are dealt with in the
magistrate's court. Apart from the exception of triable offences
which, can then be dealt with in either two courts of trial. The
majority of criminal business is dealt with by magistrates and,
despite ideology and triviality, they deal with serious cases.
Magistrates also determine, subject to appeal, whether the defendant
should be kept in custody pending trial. Magistrates can impose
conditions to meet their concerns about granting bail. Courts have
limited information on which to base bail decisions, with the
exception of experimental bail information schemes involving the
probation service. Normally prosecutors and sometimes defence lawyers
make representations as to whether bail should be granted or not.
There is a high degree of correlation between prosecutors'
representations and magistrates' decisions. One problem the society
has with magistrates is that sections of the community are
underrepresented in the lay magistracy. The lay magistracy remains
predominately white, middle aged, middle class and conservative.
The other court of trial for a criminal case is the Crown Court.
Indictable offences like murder can only be dealt with in this court
and also triable offences for example, all theft cases. An accused has
the absolute right of trial in the Crown Court but if he/she elects