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Civil law refers to rules and regulations that govern a country and they are particularly meant for that specific country. They are the rules that define the relationships between individuals. These include the rules governing contracts on for example property, marriage and other types of contracts. If one does not abide (defendant) to them they are prosecuted by the plaintiff, who is the person who has been wronged, and they may be compensated in form of damages (Dunham 2008).
Criminal law refers to the rules and regulations which if one do not comply with them; they are entitled to capital punishment. They are the wrongs committed against the society and even individuals and the government takes the initiative to make sure that the wrong doers are punished accordingly (Institute of Judicial Administration, 2003).
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Civil and criminal are very different. In terms of punishment, under criminal law the wrong doer may be jailed or even executed while under civil law the defendant only compensates the plaintiff for all the losses that he may have incurred because of his behavior. In criminal law, the prosecutor must proof that the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt while in civil law the plaintiff only needs to present evidence of the defendants negligence for example.
Ned's situation was a case of negligence on the part of Nilgood College. Negligence is a tort. Civil cases once presented in a court can be heard by either the County court or the High court. The court that is chosen depends on the amount of claim. If it is less than $15000, it must be started in a county court but if it is more it must be started in a high court (Mansell, Meteyard & Thomson, 2004).
Under the track system, there is the small track, the fast track and the multi track. The track that is to be used for a particular case is made by the District judge in the county court or the Master in the high court. The small claims track deals with disputes that are worth less than $5000 with an exception of personal injuries whose claim is under $1000. The fast track deals with disputes that are of a claim worth between $5000 and $15000.The multi track on the other hand deals with disputes that are worth $15000 and over and any other complex case worth large amounts.
In the case of Ned, the advisable track would be the small claims track as he had suffered personal injuries as we are told he had some broken bones resultant from the accident. Also considering the fact that he is a student the small track claim is suitable as the costs are kept to a minimum and the process is quick (Harris, 2007).
Following the Woolf Report (1996), there have been considerable improvements to the civil justice system. This is because the report advocates for simplification of the procedures, speeding up of justice and protocol applicable to both sides. This would become a reality with the inclusion of more staff to the judicial system. Failure of compliance leads to direct costs payable when the case is heard before a court. These reforms are very important as they have made the judicial system more reliable and people can put trust on their system (Stuhmcke, 2001).
The civil procedure rules have been very effective in disposal of cases. This is mainly because this way even a new person on the job can clearly make accurate decisions based on the set rules. There is also the introduction of a cheaper and faster way of putting a case on the trial list. As such trials no longer take as long as they used to in the past. This is because parties to the case are involved in choosing whether to use limited procedures or not as it is in fast track system. They are made aware of what is required of them and they therefore do not cause any delays in the course of justice due to ignorance (Birks, 1996).
Another very crucial introduction to the procedures is the possibility of changing the track allocated if the case takes a different direction from the one initially established. These procedure rules have enhanced equality and accessibility of the justice system services especially to the poor who were initially always discriminated against. There has also been greater efficiency, accountability and transparency in the judicial systems (Grainger, Fealy & Spencer, 2000).
The civil procedure rules have taken into consideration how materials stored electronically should be handled if presented as evidence and also gives guidance to people who have hardly any experience in such kinds of matters. This is mainly applicable to cases that are examined through the multi track system. There also are proposed amendments on issues about property ownership such that an unauthorized tenant may apply for extension on the date that they are supposed to transfer possession of the property until they are able to acquire another home somewhere else.
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Generally, the reforms by Woolf have had a great impact on the judicial system and the commoner is tat the receiving end and hence enjoys all the benefits therein. This solves the problem of delayed justice. Lay men like Ned are therefore able to access justice and enjoy their rights easily as they are entitled to them. It is our duty to ensure that wrong doers do not go unpunished (Loughlin & Gerlis, 2004).
Information sheet on the duties of different personnel in the judicial system.
A barrister is an independent legal advisor who may be called upon at different stages of a case in court. His main work is to give advice to any side in either criminal cases or civil cases. He has no direct contact with the clients but mainly works under a solicitor. His services are only called upon when need arises.
A solicitor is a lawyer who deals with traditional legal matters. The work of a solicitor is to give advice to the clients and to also represent them in court. The solicitor has direct contact with the client. The may work for private firms or for government.
A judge is the person who presides over a court of law either alone or together with other judges. A judge is the one who decides whether a case will go to trial and also makes sure that the cases are fair. Judges also solve disputes between lawyers. They also inform the jury about the law.
They work in magistrate courts and local courts. They make fair decisions about cases both civil and criminal.
The jury determines whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial for a particular case. They also give their verdict that is used in coming up with the judgment.