AJ 4 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Precedent, Substantive Law, Weregild
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The Development of Criminal Law
Criminal Law: The bodies of rules that define crimes, set out their punishments, and mandate the
procedures for carrying out the criminal justice process.
● The former is known as civil law and the latter is called criminal law that can generally
be divided into 4 categories.
Substantive Criminal Law: Bodies of specific rules that declare what conduct is criminal and
prescribe the punishment to be imposed for such conduct.
Procedural Criminal Law: the methods that must be followed in obtaining warrants, investigating
offenses, effecting lawful arrests, conducting trials, introducing evidence, sentencing convicted
offenders, and reviewing cases by appellate courts.
Civil Law: all law that is not criminal, including tort, contract, personal property, wills, maritime,
and commercial law.
Torts: the law of personal injuries
Public Law: the branch of law that deals with the state or government agencies and controls their
administrative relationships with individuals, corporations, or other branches of government.
● Similarities of criminal and tort law include: controlling behavior, imposition of
sanctions, personal assault, and payment of damages or fine. Some differences include:
crime is public while tort is private, the sanction of tort law is monetary, the individual
brings the action in a civil suit, and monetary payments in a civil suit go to the person.
● The rules designed to implement substantive law are known as procedural law. The
procedural law is concerned with the criminal process. Substantive law is concerned with
rights of policemen.
The History of Criminal Law
● Dates back to 2000BCE, the Roman Twelve made laws, then Germans made Wergild.
Guilt was determined by compurgation and claims of innocence and ordeal.
The Common Law
● After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, royal judges would hold court-calling
citizens to tell of the crimes and serious breaches of peace.
● Judges would use precedents that would then be commonly applied in all similar cases—
hence the term common law.
● Carrier’s case of merchants keeping things
Stare Decisis: to stand by decided cases: the legal principle by which the decision or holding in
an earlier case becomes the standard by which subsequent similar cases are judged.