Unit 1: The English Legal System/1.1 Introduction to law

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Unit 1: The English Legal System
1.1 1.1 Introduction to law
· Law may be defined as: a set of compulsory rules about human behaviour enforced by the State.
· Law is needed to:
1. Provide minimum standards of acceptable behaviour
2. Provide a method of obtaining justice and resolving disputes
3. Promote order in society
· There are two ways to classify law, Public or Private and Criminal or Civil law.
· Public law means law which affect the interactions between the State and its citizens. This is made up of
constitutional law which is about the way government and laws are to be created, administrative law which is about
how government departments or public institutions are going to work in practice and criminal law which is rules
about offences against the State.
· Private law is about how individuals interact with one another in specific situations, such as business law, family
law and in civil wrongs such as negligence.
· Criminal law is made up of rules about offences which the state considers to be so important that they are said to be
actions against the State as a whole, so the State brings the person to a criminal court to answer for their actions.
· Civil law is the same as private law as it is made up of rules about how individuals interact with one another in
situations where an individual could bring a court case against them.
· The UK courts are in this hierarchy:
Supreme court
Court of Appeal
High court
Crown court
County court
Magistrates court

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