Comparative Justice Systems
You are asked to compare the American criminal justice system with the justice system in one other country of your choosing. You may choose to compare the entire system or just policing, courts, or corrections. For Unit Four, complete the final draft of your essay. The paper should be approximately five pages long. Upload your essay in a Word document.
Plagiarism/Academic Integrity Statement: I certify that this paper is an original paper composed by me for this course. Except where properly cited and attributed, it has not been copied or closely paraphrased from any other source and has not been submitted as a whole, or in part, for credit in any other course at OU or any other educational institution. It has not been created or submitted for any other purpose such as a job assignment at my workplace or any other agency.
Comparative Justice Systems
To deal with crime, the criminal justice system was created. Regardless of the nation, the principles of the criminal justice system are, for the most part, similar in terms of history, roots, and purpose. Nevertheless, taking into account the confrontational nature of the justice system, there are notable differences. This difference is evident when comparing the American criminal justice system with that of the United Kingdom (UK).
The separation of power is one of the main differences between the criminal justice system in the UK and that of the US. Cole, Smith, and DeJong (2018) indicate that, in practice, power is separated into three branches, each with unique responsibilities to facilitate checks and balances. Joyce (2016) goes on to assert that many nations opt for a compromise in terms of stringent separation of power, as is evident in the United Kingdom. Put simply, the legislative branch and the executive branch closely share the same functions and responsibilities. For instance, Joyce (2016) indicates that the UK Prime Minister serves as the majority party leader in the legislature in addition to being the head of the executive branch. Conversely, despite how the US government is made up of three branches similar to those in the UK, Neubauer and Fradella (2018) affirm that each branch is not only separate, but they also have different functions and responsibilities, which do not entwine.
Secondly, another difference between the criminal justice system of the US and the UK concerns government administration. As per Slapper and Kelly (2014), the structure of government administration in the UK is more centralized as compared to that of the US. Slapper and Kelly say that in the UK, there are no separate states as observed in the US, which comprises several states. There are nations that form the UK, including England, Scotland, and Wales. While these nations form the UK, they are not similar to states in that they are not solely dependent on one ruling government. Accordingly, each of these nations has their own court systems, criminal laws, together with bar associations. According to Cole, Smith, and DeJong (2018), in the US, each state has its own criminal laws and procedures. However, every state that forms part of the US is governed by one main federal government.
The criminal justice system of the US differs from that of the UK with respect to the court systems as well as procedures involved. The court systems are almost similar, but the difference being the types of courts, procedures, as well as how different kinds of disputes are handled. In the UK, for instance, Joyce (2016) indicates that special magistrate courts are given the task of resolving small civil disagreements together with minor criminal offenses. On the other hand, such kinds of cases in the US are resolved practically solely by state courts. Concerning civil cases and crimes that are more similar, Neubauer and Fradella (2018) highlight that both are subjected to a three-court pecking order. In the US, cases begin in the lower courts, i.e., State Courts, whereas, in the UK, cases are initiated at the Crown Courts. Consequently, the cases are transferred to the Court of Appeals in both countries, followed by the Supreme Court, if essential. This way, there are notable differences between the court system in the US and the UK.
Considering the supreme courts in these two countries, they do have their own distinctive similarities. The courts will act as the highest appellate court within the jurisdictions to handle the crucial matters of domestic law (Mclntyre et al., 2015). Annually, the courts will listen to a limited number of cases which mainly deal with questions of considerable legal importance. the courts will give judgments that are binding to the lower courts within their distinct jurisdictions. Nonetheless, it is essential to note that the courts will not enjoy unlimited jurisdictions. The Supreme Court in the United States is the final arbiter on the matters of federal constitutional law and has an appellate jurisdiction over the federal and state courts. however, the court will have no jurisdiction over matters of state law as the state supreme courts have the final say in related matters. The United states Supreme Court deals with matters of the federal law. conversely, the Supreme Court of the UK has broader powers as the final appellate court for all the civil cases. However, it only handles the criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Mclntyre et al., 2015). The court has a limited jurisdiction on Scottish criminal cases as its jurisdiction goes as far as the devolution of compatibility arises. its power is also limited by its duty to to provide a preliminary reference to the Court of justice of the European Union. This will occur in case there is a concern in relation to the EU law. The only time where the Supreme Court in the UK makes a decision on matters of EU law is only when they apply it correctly with no scope to leave a reasonable doubt.
The legal systems between the UK and the US have many similarities. Considering the United States was an English Colony, their legal systems are direct descendants of the English Courts specifically in terms of the Common Law (Rabon, 2013). To this effect, this common law does not come from the government but the case decisions. If the court decides on the meaning of a law, its definition becomes the standard utilized by other courts in making case decisions. the United states formulated its own common law that was based on the Constitution. In the UK, the common law remains the primary legal systems (Syam, 2014). A noticeable difference is evident in the “Law & Order UK” where the attorneys are mainly considered solicitors or barristers. In the US, the lawyer is allowed to handle any matter whether a civil or criminal issue. The solicitors will deal with many of the legal matters, document drafting, provision of advice and the representation of clients in the minor criminal matters. The solicitors also have the power to act directly on behalf of the clients. Conversely, the barrister will specialize on trial advocacy and acting as the litigant or defendant in the High Court. The barrister will build the case and argue before the jury or judge. However, the barrister cannot act on behalf of the client without the consent of the solicitor (Rabon, 2013). These two parties will work together especially for the important cases such that the solicitor will manage the documents, prepare evidence and negotiate even outside the courtroom as the trial goes on. Notably, the lawyers in the United States systems will have the lawyers do almost everything.
According to Del-Bove et al (2015), both court systems will have the judicial decisions read in public during the last hearing and it is published after being signed by all the judges. The involved judges will sign their decisions or opinions and do not withdraw their anonymity as other judges such as the french courts. This is a practise that makes up the cornerstone of their legal case law systems. The judges are invited to declare what the law is primarily and give justifications and interpretations to their statements. These explanations are required in helping the audience and case parties in understanding how the decisions were made. Nonetheless, the discourse structures have their differences (Del-Bove et al., 2015). For instance in citing cases, the UK will have a system of neutral citation where they identify a case without making any reference to any publisher but the courts of law that gave the decision. In the reference, the court will identify the parties’ names, the judgment year, the court and the final number. The American law has no system of neutral citations such that their cases present the volume of the decision, the reports, the publisher, the quotation’s page and the year in which the decision was taken. there are several structural differences in how the court juries will refer to cases in coming up with the present case judgments.
Cole, G. F., Smith, C. E., & DeJong, C. (2018). The American system of criminal justice. Cengage Learning.
Del-Bove, M. C., & Francoz-Terminal, L. (2015). How common is the common law? Some differences and similarities in British and American Superior Court Decisions.
Rabon, J. (2014, September 4). An exploration of the differences between the U.S. and U.K. Law and legal systems. Anglotopia.net. https://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/an-exploration-of-the-differences-between-the-u-s-and-u-k-law-and-legal-systems/
Joyce, P. (2016). Criminal justice: An introduction. Routledge.
Mclntyre, C., Farmer, J., & Deacon, M. (2015, February 16). Supreme courts: The US and UK compared. Law Society of Scotland. https://www.lawscot.org.uk/members/journal/issues/vol-60-issue-02/supreme-courts-the-us-and-uk-compared/
Neubauer, D. W., & Fradella, H. F. (2018). America’s courts and the criminal justice system. Cengage Learning.
Slapper, G., & Kelly, D. (2014). The English Legal System: 2014-2015. Routledge.
Syam, P. (2014, April 7). Major differences between the US and UK legal systems. Law Degrees Available Online | @WashULaw. https://onlinelaw.wustl.edu/blog/differences-between-us-and-uk-legal-systems/