The US and UK legal systems PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 26 August 2010 07:17

The US and UK legal systems
S. B. Mohammadi

The legal system in the United State is similar in many ways to the English legal system common in England and Wales. According to cases, in both systems, two kinds of court work: Civil and criminal courts. The first deal with civil cases that are about rights of ordinary people, for example property rights, divorce, etc. The second is deal with cases that are about crimes. Every criminal trial, in the US legal system as like as the UK system consist of courts, the jury and the attorney, but with some differences in these three elements.
Courts: In Britain, there are two kinds of criminal courts: magistrates and crown courts. Less serious criminal and civil cases are dealt with in the magistrates' courts, where there is no jury but a case is usually heard by two or three magistrates. Cases that are more serious are heard by judge in the crown courts (for criminal cases) or the high court (for civil cases). On the contrary, in the US, there are three kinds of judges for three types of courts. One of the most important branches of government in the US is Supreme Court. The main duty of this court is to interpret United State constitution. Nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the President and approved by the senate for life. Federal judges are also appointed for life by the President. They deal with federal law, which applies to the country as a whole. State judges, who hear cases involving the law of particular state, hold office for ten years and usually elected in office by election.
The jury: In England and Wales is made up twelve ordinary people aged between 18 and 65. Nevertheless, in the US the number of people who make up a jury varies from state to state. In addition, both defendant and the prosecution are allowed to reject a certain number of jury candidates. Against England, that the jury is necessary only for criminal cases; in the US, many civil cases are also heard by a jury. The task of the jury is to decide whether the defendant is innocent or guilty.
The attorneys: Solicitors and Barristers play the attorneys role in English legal system. Solicitors are lawyers who do legal business for individuals and companies, and act as advocates, representing client in court. Barristers used to be the only lawyers allowed to appear as advocates in higher courts. One advocate that counsel the prosecution tries to prove that accused committed the crime. The advocate representing the defendant tries to show that he or she is innocent. In the US, the attorneys who represent clients in court, have been trained at law school and are licensed to practice only in certain states. If they wish practice in a different state, they may have to take another exam. In a criminal case, the prosecution attorney is appointed by the district attorney to prosecute the defendant. The defense attorney will be provided by the public defender's office if the defendant cannot afford to engage her or his own lawyer.  
In spite of similarity between the US and UK legal system in some factors like kinds of trials and courts, and parts of courts and people in courts, they are differing from each other in many ways, and their differences also return to these factors..

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 August 2010 07:19


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