Lesson video

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Now today we are really starting to split the law into two channels.

We're going to look at the difference between criminal law and civil law.

So in order to look at criminal and civil law we need to know the definitions, we need to know what we're dealing with.

So, first of all, we're going to look at criminal law.

And that can be broadened down to when somebody breaks a law.

So if you've watched some of my previous lessons we've looked at how laws are made and who enforces the law.

Well, criminal law looks at a crime where a law has been broken and some of these crimes are against society.

For example, if you commit murder, theft or criminal damage.

Now that's going against laws that have been set up by Parliament, so effectively you're going against the Queen's rules.

If we look at civil law on the other hand, there's not necessarily been a crime being committed.

But moreso that there's a dispute between two people.

Now, where in criminal law you might say that there's a dispute between a person and the Queen because that's where her rules come from, in civil law they are two people of the public.

Now I've said that usually civil cases are brought when someone feels damage has been done to them.

Now, damage might not be in the term that you think.

But in law, when we use the word damage we look at where wrong has been done, where something has been affected, somebody has been affected, or whether or not there's been an argument or perhaps my examples down at the bottom there, if there's been a noise dispute.

If you've got neighbour dispute, so maybe they're parking over your land, maybe they're growing trees into your land, maybe they're using the old land for a walkway or passage.

It could be there that there is a contractual obligation.

And by that I mean if you've employed somebody to do some home repairs in your house, if you've got someone come around to fix your boiler, if you've got someone building something, and they don't do what they've promised you can then bring an action of civil law.

Now we're going to look at those two pieces of law and they're very, very separate but they can work together at times as well.

So if you bring a criminal case to court you can also bring a civil case at the same time.

So you don't just have to have one or the other and at the end of this lesson we're going to to look at how that applies in practise.

So what I've got for you then are a couple of scenarios.

And what I thought would be useful to do at this time is to look at these nine scenarios and think about, is it a criminal offence or is it a civil offence that's been committed? So I will take you through all of them and I would like you to decide on your first bit of paper is whether you think the numbers one to nine are a civil offence or a criminal offence.

Are they both? Or are they neither? So there is four different options there, criminal by itself, civil by itself, whether they are both, or whether they are none, okay.

Number one, Ron drives his car a 50 miles an hour in a 30 mile an hour zone.

Two, Sam takes an old lady's handbag and runs off with the contents.

Mary and Paul want to get divorced, Paul takes out half of the money of their joint bank account without telling Mary.

Four, Jack steals sweets from the shop.

Five, Bob the fix it man has not fixed Tom's washing machine properly and now it has flooded the kitchen.

Six, Amit tackles Frank during a football game with the intention of hurting Frank.

Frank is so badly injured that he has to retire from playing football.

Seven, Rema buys a TV from a store and when she gets home it turns out the TV is broken.

Eight, Lucy plays her music at a loud volume for a period of four hours, ignoring previous warnings from the council.

Sarah enters Lucy's house without permission and destroys Lucy's new laptop.

And finally, nine, Rachel, a registered tattooist, gives Peter a split tongue to resemble a serpent.

Now that's actually a split tongue, not a tattoo of a serpent, actually giving him a split tongue.

So what I'd like you to do here is consider those nine potential offences, pause the video, and then once you've done that just write down whether you think it's a criminal offence, a civil offence, whether you think it's both, or whether you think it's none.

So pause the video here, go back and complete your task, you can rewind a few seconds and then come back to me once you have finished.

Okay, so what did you get? Now these are the same nine scenarios and it's important for us here to look at what's going on.

So in the number one, Ron drives his car at 50 miles an hour in a 30 mile an hour zone.

Now that's a criminal offence because he's breaking the speeding rules, he's breaking the law in terms of the Royal Traffic Act.

With number two however, Sam takes an old lady's handbag, there can be both an element of criminal and civil actions here.

Now obviously, depend on the severity of what's happened with taking the old lady's handbag.

Some can be charged with a criminal offence, so you can be charged with theft, or you can be charged with robbery.

When he runs off with the contents however, the old lady here might take out a civil claim to recover the value of what's being taken.

So she might've had some money in there, she might've had some personal belongings, and she might put that together in a civil claim and we'll look at how that works in a few moments.

With Mary and Paul, potentially, And I'm going to use that word loosely, potentially it will be a civil claim.

Now here, arguably, not going into the finer details of it, because it's a joint bank account Paul hasn't necessarily done anything wrong.

Mary however might see it differently and might want to bring a civil action to bring about the money that's being taken.

Now, here the courts in a criminal trial, you might be thinking, well, isn't that theft? Well with theft, you've got to look at does that property belong to another? Technically half of that property belongs to Paul.

So here I'm not saying that it might be a criminal offence.

If anything it would be if anything a civil offence,, but there might be no offence there committed.

Then number four, Jack steals sweets from a shop.

That's very easy, it's theft.

Okay, so criminal is your answer for number four.

With five, Bob the fixer man, he hasn't done a very good job apparently and now the kitchen's flooded.

That would be a civil, it's a dispute between two people about their contract of services.

So Bob has promised to come around and fix the washing machine, Bob hasn't fixed the washing machine and now there's been some damage done.

Okay, so the defendant here would be Bob and the claimant would be Tom and he is looking to recover the value of fixing his kitchen to the state it would be prior to the accident.

With number six, Amit tackling Frank, now there are two elements here.

Possible criminal charges and a civil charge.

Now this comes from a famous case.

Now, some of you, if not all of you, are going to be too young to remember.

Back 15 maybe 20 years ago, Roy Keane who played for Manchester United at the time tackled Alfi Haaland, and some of you might know, Alfi Haaland's son, currently plays for Borussia Dortmund over in Germany.

Roy Keane tackled Alfi Haaland, Now he's waited a long time to get Halaand.

He blames him for an injury and Roy Keane tackles him during the Manchester Derby, but he purposely does it.

Now this ends Alf's career.

He does come back but he has to retire because the injury is so bad.

But what the court said there is because you consent to the risk.

of being tackled in a sporting facility and a sporting events, much like boxing, much like rugby, it's a contact sport, there may not be any criminal avenue there.

However, you got to look along the lines of, is it done with intention? You consent to some risk but you don't consent to being injured.

So without going into the finer details there, it could be a possible criminal, it could be ABH, it could be GBH, which is inflicting bodily harm onto somebody, but more likely here this civil recovery, what would happen here? Frank was bring a claim against Amit to recover the loss of earnings, possibly if it's professional.

If you can't do it again it would be loss of enjoyment, and what happens, and we'll look at this in a few moments, is you put together a claim based on set values.

You quantify that claim, you add all that up, and then you take it to court and you bring a claim.

For number seven, it's a simple case here of trade services in that Rema's TV was not fit for purpose so this is a dispute between Rema and the shop and therefore it would be a civil claim.

With Lucy and with Sarah there's both criminal and civil actions here.

So Lucy's ignoring some guidance from the council which is a civil offence, it's breach of noise, and also the fact that Lucy has entered somebody's property without permission, it could be trespass.

And also the fact that she's destroyed her new laptop, that's a criminal offence.

And then finally you might not have thought there's was anything wrong here because Peter might have asked for the serpent tongue.

However, what the court has said is you cannot consent to have actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm done to you.

So this would be a criminal offence for Rachel to answer in court.

So that gives you a little bit of an insight onto how the courts work and how offences work.

So I've mentioned a couple of these terms back in the previous examples.

In criminal law the person charged with an offence is called the defendant.

So the person in the dock, the person who's accused of doing something wrong is called the defendant.

And the Crown Prosecution Service, and if you looked at our last video we looked at who the Crown Prosecution Service are.

They bring the case on behalf of the Queen.

So they look at what charges should be brought and what is the possibility of gaining a guilty conviction in court.

If they don't get that, if they don't have the evidence before trial, they will not bring the trial to court.

They will advise the police that more prosecution is possible.

However, what they will do is they will gather all the evidence, they will gather all the reports, they will gather all the witnesses, and they will bring that case to court on behalf of Queen.

In civil law the person who brings the case is called the claimant.

So the people who bring the case and criminal law are called the CPS, in civil law the person bringing the case is called the claimant.

And they are claiming something, they are claiming that damage has been done to them.

They are claiming that they've lost something.

Similar to criminal law, the person who is accused of the wrongdoing is called the defendant.

And where the claimant wins they are awarded damages, they are awarded a remedy.

Now that could be monetary value, it could be that they get a court order given to them.

But again, we'll look at that fine details in another lesson.

So we've got two different types of law.

We need to look up what the court structure looks like in both criminal and civil trials.

So this is a basic court structure.

Now on the left-hand side what you've got are the criminal courts.

So right down the bottom you've got the Magistrates court.

Now the Magistrates court deals with 95% of all criminal court cases, sorry.

Only 5% of cases go to the Crown court.

Now, obviously the Crown court because it sits above the Magistrate court, serves another function.

So they can hear those 5% of cases, and we're going to look at what type of cases they hear in a moment, but they can also hear appeals from the Magistrates court itself.

Sitting above the Crown court is the Court of Appeal.

Now the Court of Appeal, as it says in its name, hears appeals from the Crown court.

And as you go up the scale, you can see if you go straight across to the civil courts, both criminal and civil both have an element of the Court of Appeal.

This is because if you feel that you haven't had the case run properly, if you disagree with the verdict, there is an element of appeal.

So what they do is they hear your case and they hear on facts of law and then they decide whether or not they agree with previous convictions or whether they sort of, they can either agree with the decision that's been made or they can reverse the decision.

So you might have been found, not guilty and the prosecution might appeal and be found guilty and then vice versa.

And then finally at the top of the chain you've got the Supreme Court and that's the highest court in the United Kingdom.

If you get to there, their decision is final.

It can move up into sort of the Court of Appeal in Europe, but again, that's another lesson, different time.

In the civil courts, the county court, and we're going to look again at this in a moment, is split into three.

So that's your law level offences.

Now, if you've watched like "Can't Pay? Take It Away!", they deal with the county court and they deal with the High court.

Now again, the High court split into three.

Queen's Bench division, the Chancery division, and the Family division.

And we're going to look at, again, those in more detail.

There is an element of the civil Court of Appeal, as we've said, and then a civil element in the Supreme Court above.

So that's the basic structure of the criminal and civil courts.

So that's have a look at them in a little bit more detail, shall we? So first of all we'll deal with the criminal courts.

Now, as we've said, Magistrates deal with 95% of all cases.

Now that gives you an idea of how many cases come through the Magistrates doors every day.

Regardless of how serious it is, the Magistrates is the starting point for all criminal cases.

So sometimes you'll get a pretrial hearing or you get a plea hearing and this is your first time in court.

So once you're arrested you will be brought before a Magistrate within 24 hours.

And at that point you are then given your court allocation.

So what happens is the Magistrates will weigh up how serious the case is and they will either keep it in the Magistrates court, or they will refer it to the Crown court for trial.

And we'll deal with the offences in a second.

In the Crown court the Crown court hears cases that are not suitable for magis courts for a number of reasons.

And in the Crown court it's for the jury to decide the innocence or guilt, unlike in the Magistrates court where it's the bench of three that decide guilt or innocence.

In the Crown court if the judge gets a guilty verdict from the jury it is his or her job then to decide the sentence, if necessary.

The Magistrates do both those functions, they do decide on guilt or innocence, and then they do pass sentence.

Now over on the right-hand side there are types of trials.

Criminal offences can be categorised into three.

And depending on which offence you've committed usually depends on the court that your trial is heard.

So, first of all, we've got summary offences.

Now these are your low level offences, these are things like road traffic collisions, speeding fines, drink driving, and minor assaults.

Now summary offences are always dealt with in the Magistrates court because of the quickness and the ease of it.

You don't necessarily need a complex legal argument.

It's usually over in a couple of minutes, if not hours.

So they can get cases in and out very quickly.

And we'll leave at either way offences for a second.

An indictable offence is one where you can get a trial by a jury, those are the more serious offences.

You're looking at murder, manslaughter, robbery, rape.

Now those are the cases that are more serious and need the legal arguments given to the court.

The either way offences are that, they're either summary offences or they're indictable offences.

The indictable offences have to be heard in the Crown court.

Summary offences are heard in the Magistrates court.

With either way offences it can either be the Magistrates court or the Crown court.

Now there's a caveat there.

One, the Magistrate can decide that it's too serious to be heard in the Crown court, in the Magistrates court, sorry, and refer it to the Crown court.

Now, remember, Magistrates can only give a maximum of six months prison sentence.

If they think that if convicted, if found guilty, this person in front of them would need a bigger sentence than six months they will refer it to the Crown court.

If they believe that they have the powers to deal with a case in the Magistrates court they will deal with it in the Magistrates court.

However, a defendant can elect to have a trial by jury dependent on the severity of their case.

Now the Magna Carta dates back 805 years and that said that every person had their right to a trial by jury.

Now in practise you're not going to get a jury trial for a speeding offence, you're not going to get a jury trial for a drink driving offence.

The type of either way cases are looking at theft, you're looking at burglary, you're looking at ABH, which is assault by action and occasional body harm, actual bodily harm, sorry.

Or you could have GBH, which is grievous bodily harm which is the more serious type of assault.

So you can see here that the Magistrates can decide to send it up to the Crown court if they believe that it's more serious or the defendant can elect a jury trial.

Now they might do this, they might think that in a court of 12 people that they have more chance of getting off with the case.

Now that carries a risk because if they're found guilty they can be punished a lot harsher than the Magistrates court would.

So it's a bit of a gamble, okay, so they've got to weigh up what's going on.

If we move across to the civil courts then the county court's split into three and they're called tracks.

Now, if you've watched "Judge Rinder" on TV that's the type of small claims court.

And what the small claims court does is it deals with cases that are valued at less than 10,000 pounds.

So once you've seen your solicitor, you tell them all the injuries that you have suffered and that's given a value.

Once that value's added up if your claim is worth less than 10,000 pounds you will be able allocated to the small claims court and you will be dealt with as such.

Now it's quite quick, and it's designed to be quite quick because if it's designed to be long lasting there is a bit of a backlog.

Now the small claims track is designed to discourage the use of solicitors because you don't get costs awarded to if you lose.

The judge will audit dates by which evidence has been disclosed.

And judges will try and get you to mediate, they will try and get you to resolve the case before going to court.

So, as I said, on the right hand side there, that's known as ADR, alternate dispute resolution.

And what happens is the judges will encourage you to settle outside of court because it saves the court time.

And it also, in fairness, if you are trying to preserve a relationship, if that's a working relationship, a contractual dispute between you and your employer, you obviously want to try and fix that relationship and sometimes going to court adds a little bit more tension.

Now, the fast-track claim there is worth between 10,000 and 25,000 pounds.

And this is a little bit more complicated because there's something called a case management conference and that looks at what will happen in the trial.

And the idea is that in that case management conference that there is reports discussed and there's evidence disclosed and usually the court will limit expert evidence to one witness for speed.

Now that can be a mutually appointed court expert, but the idea is that the expert's evidence will be given in writing and there will be a fixed timetable, so it gets it through the court quickly, hence the term fast-track.

If you haven't tried to settle through mediation by using ADR the courts might punish you in terms of cost.

So sometimes you can recover your cost from the other party if you win, here if you haven't attempted to mediate the courts might punish you in that respect.

Now, if we move down to the multi-track you can see it's getting a little bit more serious, it's 25,000 pounds plus.

And what will happen here is that there are strict time limits and the court has a great deal of flexibility here.

But once a trial date is fixed the court is very unlikely to agree to any sort of adjournments or postponement.

Again, the courts control how many experts are used and all timers are strictly enforced and can dismiss a claim from the claimant or in the defence if directions are not complied with.

So if you don't follow the rules of the court system, if the judge then they can just throw your claim out.

Now the High court hears appeals from the County court but also deals with three separate issues.

The Queen's Bench specifically deals with contract law and personal injury.

The Chancery division deals with business and property and the Family courts deal with divorce and custody battles.

Now, again, if you watch "Can't Pay? Take it Away!", it's one of my favourite shows, you'll hear that there's been a writ executed from the High court and this allows people like bailiffs to come and collect the value of your claim.

So if you've claimed 10,000 pounds in the county court and you don't receive that payment, you can put it on appeal to the High court, get a writ of possession.

You can employ some bailiffs to go around and collect that debt.

But obviously there's added fees, there's court fees, so it is best to settle as soon as you can to avoid those additional fees.

So we're going to our scenarios then.

I won't read them to you again but I just want you to decide on which court would they be heard in.

So you can just loosely say would it be the Magistrate's court, the Crown court, Court of Appeals, so on.

Or the county courts or the High court.

Now I haven't given you any values there so don't worry about assigning it to a track, but just start to think about which court would you get to.

Again, pause the video, complete the task and come back to me once you are ready.

Okay then, let's see what you've got.

Whether you've put criminal or civil courts.

Now the first one with Ron driving his car it is quite a low level offence, it's a criminal offence so it will be heard in the Magistrates court.

With number two, now, Magistrates or Crown court, it depends on the severity.

It depends on certain factors that have happened during the case on how much force Sam has used and the aftermath of it.

So it could either start off in the Magistrates court or it could go to the Crown court, again, it's one of those either way offences.

And if the old lady here wishes to recover the contents of the bag in terms of monetary value or whether she suffered some form of a personal injury, she would take her case to the Crown court in a civil claim.

Now with Mary and Paul, there might not be any theft here because Paul owns half of their money, therefore is entitled to take it out of the joint bank account.

So I'm saying there's no crime being committed here so I'm not taking it to a criminal court.

However, Mary might feel differently and try and recover these losses through civil recovery.

With number four, Jack stealing sweets from a shop, again, it's one of your summary offences.

It's very low level and the Magistrates would deal with that.

Bob the fix it man hasn't done a very good job, he was contracted for his services and now he has to go to the county court to face Tom where Tom will be looking to recover the cost of putting his kitchen back to how it was before Bob started.

Now here with Amit and Frank, one might say here that it's quite a serious injury.

If it stopped Franklin playing football we're going to guess that it's some form of ABH, some actual bodily harm or GBH, grievous bodily harm.

And those types of offences can be heard in the Crown court due to its severity, it's the intention here that we're looking at, he's intended to do it Amit, sorry, intended to do Frank some harm.

But also a Frank wants to recover any damages.

So if Frank's lost earnings from being off on the sick, if Frank is a semi-professional, a professional and he's wanting to recover his loss of enjoyment he can take his care to the county court and put a claim in, so again, as we've said before, the way that injuries are weighed up, every injury has a value.

You add the value and you take it to one of the three tracks in the county court in the first instance.

Rema buying a TV, it's a simple case of consumer rights so that will be heard in the county court.

With Lucy and Sarah here, again, there's a criminal and civil element to it.

The music being ignored could be a civil action in the county court because it's for noise disruption and it's neighbourly disputes.

But then the fact that Sarah enters the house without permission and the fact that she destroys the laptop could be a criminal offence.

Now, again, dependent on severity, it's more likely to be in the Magistrate's court, but there are elements again which we'll look at in future lessons to say whether or not that could be put up to the Crown court.

And then finally, Rachel giving Peter at split tongue that resembles a serpent.

It could be a Magistrates court or it could be a Crown court.

Now dependent on the factors here, you cannot consent to anybody doing grievous bodily harm to you.

And there's some great case law eventually when you get up to A level where you look at how that works in practise.

But here it could be an either or offence.

It could be heard at the Magistrates court or the Crown court.

So how does that look in practise then? So what we're going to look at here is a case study.

Now this will have happened long before you were born, but if you ask your parents about Hillsborough they will certainly remember it.

Now this happened in 1989 and it was the FA Cup semi final.

Now what happened here is a massive tragedy and what I want us to do is to watch the short explanation of what's gone on at Hillsborough and I want you to start thinking about everything we've learned this lesson.

So what if any criminal offences have been committed? And what if any civil offences have been committed? What I want you to do is write those down on your piece of paper.

And I want you to start thinking about why, why do you think it's a criminal offence? And why do you think it's a civil offence? Now, what we've got to bear in mind with Hillsborough, even though it happens 30 years ago, it's still in the news and I'll explain why in a second.

But what I want us to do first is what's a short explanation and consider what criminal and what civil offences have happened.

Some things I've thought about is criminal offences and civil offences, start with criminal offences.

There's something called gross negligence manslaughter.

So you can kill somebody, you can commit manslaughter by actions or by negligence, by acts or emissions.

So by doing something or by not doing something.

Here the police commander didn't move the time of the kickoff so I'm saying here that his emission, his failure to do something has resulted in gross negligence manslaughter.

Now David Duckenfield has been brought to court and charged of with this offence.

But it's a little bit of a take away task.

I want you to go away and look at the case of David Duckenfield and perhaps tweet #LearnWithOak and tell me what you found about this case.

I've also said there that there's breach of health and safety regulations.

So the fact that this allowed to happen, health and safety should we called into question.

And perverting the cost of justice.

Now you may not have heard of this as such but this is lying essentially, that you have attempted to mislead the court.

Now, here in the Hillsborough case, many police officers were directed to change their witness statements.

And they did this to try and protect each other as a directive, they were directed to do this.

Now that is attempting to mislead the court by fabricating, by making up evidence, which isn't allowed.

For civil offences I've got claiming for PTSD and once or if you go onto A level law you look at a case called Allcock and that looks at the test for posttraumatic stress disorder and the effect of this case had, because not only have you or could you suffer PTSD if you were in the ground watching this, but the thousands and millions of people watching this on TV and listening to it on the radio, there's a test here to see whether or not people there could claim as well.

'Cause if you can imagine if you are watching that game and your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, auntie, uncle, whoever, if they're at that game, it's 1989, there's no mobile phones, how do you know that they are safe? So if you are sat there and you know that your close relatives are there, is it fair so that you could suffer some form of PTSD, some stress? and then the big civil claim there is the personal injury claims. Unfortunately, 96 people lost their life but there were a hundreds more that were injured so they could put a claim for a personal injury claim.

So what have we learned today? And we're going to finish it here.

We've looked at the definition of criminal and civil law.

So you can now tell me who is involved in criminal and civil law.

We've looked at the court structures in both criminal and civil law.

So you're aware of who goes, where, and then we've looked at case law, we've looked at the Hillsborough disaster.

Again, it'd be great to hear from you.

If you go on to Twitter, if you get an adult to tweet #LearnWithOak and tell me of your findings.

I will be back this time next week with our lesson that we'll look up the purpose of punishment and you can see that there is a continuation.

For now, I've been Mr. Henson, I will see you again next week.