ТОП 10:

Property rights and contractual rights



Property rights are rights over things enforceable against other persons. By contrast, contractual rights are rights enforceable against particular persons. Property rights, however, may arise from a contract, so there is an overlap between the two systems of rights. In relation to the sale of land, for example, two sets of legal relationships exist alongside one another: the personal right to sue for damages on the contract, and the proprietary right exercisable over the thing.

A separate distinction is evident where rights granted are insufficiently substantial to confer on the non-owner a definable interest right in the thing. The clearest example of these rights is the licence. In general, even if licences are created by a binding contract, they do not give rise to proprietary interests.

Property rights and personal rights

Property rights are also distinguished from personal rights. Practically all contemporary societies acknowledge this basic ontological and ethical distinction. In the past, groups lacking political power have often been disqualified from the benefits of property. In an extreme form this has meant that persons have become "objects" of property right, legally "things", or chattels - see slavery. More commonly, marginalised groups have been denied legal rights to own property. These include Jews in England and married women in Western societies until the late 19th century.

The dividing line between personal rights and property rights is not always easy to draw. For instance, is one's reputation property which can be commercially exploited by affording property rights to it? The question of the proprietary character of personal rights is particularly relevant in the case of rights over human tissue, organs and other body parts.

There have been recent cases of women being subordinated to the fetus, through the imposition of unwanted caesarian sections. English judges have recently made the point that such women lack the right to exclusive control over their own bodies, formerly considered a fundamental common law right. In the United States, a "quasi-property" interest has been explicitly declared in the dead body. Also in the United States, it has been recognised that people have an alienable proprietary "right of publicity" over their "persona". The patenting of biotechnological processes and products based upon human genetic material may be characterised as creating property in human life.

Classification

Property law is characterised by a great deal of historical continuity and technical terminology. The basic distinction in common law systems is between real property (land) and personal property (chattels).

Before the mid-19th century, the principles governing the devolution of real property and personal property on an intestacy were quite different. Though this dichotomy does not have the same significance anymore, the distinction is still fundamental because of the essential differences between the two categories. An obvious example is the fact that land is immovable, and thus the rules that govern its use must differ. A further reason for the distinction is that legislation is often drafted employing the traditional terminology.

The division of land and chattels has been criticised as being not satisfactory as a basis for categorising the principles of property law since it concentrates attention not on the proprietary interests themselves but on the objects of those interests.[3] Moreover, in the case of fixtures, chattels which are affixed to or placed on land may become part of the land.

Real property is generally sub-classified into:

1. corporeal hereditaments - tangible real property (land)

2. incorporeal hereditaments - intangible real property such as an easement of way

Possession

The concept of possession developed from a legal system whose principal concern was to avoid civil disorder. The general principle is that a person in possession of land or goods, even as a wrongdoer, is entitled to take action against anyone interfering with the possession unless the person interfering is able to demonstrate a superior right to do so.

In the United Kingdom, the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 has significantly amended the law relating to wrongful interference with goods and abolished some longstanding remedies and doctrines.

Transfer of property

The most usual way of acquiring an interest in property is as the result of a consensual transaction with the previous owner, for example, a sale or a gift. Dispositions by will may also be regarded as consensual transactions, since the effect of a will is to provide for the distribution of the deceased person's property to nominated beneficiaries. A person may also obtain an interest in property under a trust established for his or her benefit by the owner of the property.

It is also possible for property to pass from one person to another independently of the consent of the property owner. For example, this occurs when a person dies intestate, goes bankrupt, or has the property taken in execution of a court judgment.

Priorities

Occasionally, as a result of fraud or mistake, several people claim interests in one object, the claims being inconsistent with each other. This may arise where the person purporting to create or transfer the interest has a valid title, but purports to create several interests wholly or partially inconsistent with each other. In this case it is necessary for the courts to resolve the priorities conflict by determining the ranking of these interests. The need to resolve such conflicts suggests that different classes of proprietary interests have different spheres of enforceability depending on their place in the hierarchy.

Criminal law

The term criminal law, sometimes called penal law, refers to any of various bodies of rules in different jurisdictions whose common characteristic is the potential for unique and often severe impositions as punishment for failure to comply. Criminal punishment, depending on the offense and jurisdiction, may include execution, loss of liberty, government supervision (parole or probation), or fines. There are some archetypal crimes, like murder, but the acts that are forbidden are not wholly consistent between different criminal codes, and even within a particular code lines may be blurred as civil infractions may give rise also to criminal consequences. Criminal law typically is enforced by the government, unlike the civil law, which may be enforced by private parties.

Criminal law history

 

The first civilizations generally did not distinguish between civil and criminal law. The first known written codes of law were produced by the Sumerians. In the 21st century B.C., King Ur-Nammu acted as the first legislator and created a formal system in thirty-two articles: the Code of Ur-Nammu. Another important ancient code was the Code Hammurabi, which formed the core of Babylonian law. Neither set of laws separated penal codes and civil laws.

A depiction of a 1600s criminal trial, for witchcraft in Salem.

The similarly significant Commentaries of Gaius on the Twelve Tables also conflated the civil and criminal aspects, treating theft or furtum as a tort. Assault and violent robbery were analogized to trespass as to property. Breach of such laws created an obligation of law or vinculum juris discharged by payment of monetary compensation or damages.

The first signs of the modern distinction between crimes and civil matters emerged during the Norman Invasion of England. The special notion of criminal penalty, at least concerning Europe, arose in Spanish Late Scolasticism that was inflicted solely for a guilty mind, became transfused into canon law first and, finally, to secular criminal law. The development of the state dispensing justice in a court clearly emerged in the eighteenth century when European countries began maintaining police services. From this point, criminal law had formal the mechanisms for enforcement, which allowed for its development as a discernable entity.

Criminal Sanctions

Criminal law is distinctive for the uniquely serious potential consequences of failure to abide by its rules. Death by capital punishment may be imposed in some jurisdictions for the most serious crimes. Physical or corporal punishment may be imposed such as whipping or caning, although these punishments are prohibited in much of the world. Individuals may be incarcerated in prison or jail in a variety of conditions depending on the jurisdiction. Confinement may be solitary. Length of incarceration may vary from a day to life. Government supervision may be imposed, including house arrest, and convicts may be required to conform to particularized guidelines as part of a parole or probation regimen. Fines also may be imposed, seizing money or property from a person convicted of a crime.

Five objectives are widely accepted for enforcement of the criminal law by punishments: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and restitution. Jurisdictions differ on the value to be placed on each.

  • Retribution - Criminals ought to suffer in some way. This is the most widely seen goal. Criminals have taken improper advantage, or inflicted unfair detriment, upon others and consequently, the criminal law will put criminals at some unpleasant disadvantage to "balance the scales." This belief has some connection with utilitarianism. People submit to the law to receive the right not to be murdered and if people contravene these laws, they surrender the rights granted to them by the law. Thus, one who murders may be murdered himself. A related theory includes the idea of "righting the balance."
  • Deterrence - Individual deterrence is aimed toward the specific offender. The aim is to impose a sufficient penalty to discourage the offender from criminal behavior. General deterrence aims at society at large. By imposing a penalty on those who commit offenses, other individuals are discouraged from committing those offenses.
  • Incapacitation - Designed simply to keep criminals away from society so that the public is protected from their misconduct. This is often achieved through prison sentences today. The death penalty or banishment have served the same purpose.
  • Rehabilitation - Aims at transforming an offender into a valuable member of society. Its primary goal is to prevent further offending by convincing the offender that their conduct was wrong.
  • Restitution - This is a victim-oriented theory of punishment. The goal is to repair, through state authority, any hurt inflicted on the victim by the offender. For example, one who embezzles will be required to repay the amount improperly acquired. Restitution is commonly combined with other main goals of criminal justice and is closely related to concepts in the civil law.

Criminal law jurisdictions

International law

Public international law deals extensively and increasingly with criminal conduct, that is heinous and ghastly enough to affect entire societies and regions. The formative source of modern international criminal law was the Nuremberg trials following the Second World War in which the leaders of Nazism were prosecuted for their part in genocide and atrocities across Europe. In 1998 an International criminal court was established in the Hague under what is known as the Rome Statute. This is specifically to try heads and members of governments who have taken part in crimes against humanity. Not all countries have agreed to take part, including Yemen, Libya, Iraq and the United States.

Selected Criminal Laws

Many, many laws are enforced by threat of criminal punishment, and their particulars may vary widely from place to place. The entire universe of criminal law is too vast to intelligently catalog. Nevertheless, the following are some of the more known aspects of the criminal law.

The criminal law generally prohibits undesirable acts. Thus, proof of a crime requires proof of some act. Scholars label this the requirement of an actus reus or guilty act. Some crimes — particularly modern regulatory offenses — require no more, and they are known as strict liability offenses. Nevertheless, because of the potentially severe consequences of criminal conviction, judges at common law also sought proof of an intent to do some bad thing, the mens rea or guilty mind. As to crimes of which both actus reus and mens rea are requirements, judges have concluded that the elements must be present at precisely the same moment and it is not enough that they occurred sequentially at different times.

Actus reus

 

Actus reus is Latin for "guilty act" and is the physical element of committing a crime. It may be accomplished by an action, by threat of action, or exceptionally, by an omission to act. For example, the act of A striking B might suffice, or a parent's failure to give food to a young child also may provide the actus reus for a crime.

Where the actus reus is a failure to act, there must be a duty. A duty can arise through contract, a voluntary undertaking, a blood relation with whom one lives,[7] and occasionally through one's official position. Duty also can arise from one's own creation of a dangerous situation. Occasional sources of duties for bystanders to accidents in Europe and North America are good samaritan laws, which can criminalise failure to help someone in distress (e.g. a drowning child).

An actus reus may be nullified by an absence of causation. For example, a crime involves harm to a person, the person's action must be the but for cause and proximate cause of the harm. If more than one cause exists (e.g. harm comes at the hands of more than one culprit) the act must have "more than a slight or trifling link" to the harm.

Causation is not broken simply because a victim is particularly vulnerable. This is known as the thin skull rule. However, it may be broken by an intervening act (novus actus interveniens) of a third party, the victim's own conduct, or another unpredictable event. A mistake in medical treatment typically will not sever the chain, unless the mistakes are in themselves "so potent in causing death."

Mens rea

The English fictional character Robin Hood had the mens rea for robbing the rich, despite his good intentions of giving to the poor.

Mens rea is another Latin phrase, meaning "guilty mind." A guilty mind means an intention to commit some wrongful act. Intention under criminal law is separate from a person's motive. If Mr. Hood robs from rich Mr. Nottingham because his motive is to give the money to poor Mrs. Marion, his "good intentions" do not change his criminal intention to commit robbery.

A lower threshold of mens rea is satisfied when a defendant recognises an act is dangerous but decides to commit it anyway. This is recklessness. For instance, if C tears a gas meter from a wall to get the money inside, and knows this will let flammable gas escape into a neighbour's house, he could be liable for poisoning. Courts often consider whether the actor did recognize the danger, or alternatively ought to have recognised a risk. Of course, a requirement only that one ought to have recognized a danger (though he did not) is tantamount to erasing intent as a requirement. In this way, the importance of mens rea has been reduced in some areas of the criminal law.

Wrongfulness of intent also may vary the seriousness of an offense. A killing committed with specific intent to kill or with conscious recognition that death or serious bodily harm will result, would be murder, whereas a killing effected by reckless acts lacking such a consciousness could be manslaughter. On the other hand, it matters not who is actually harmed through a defendant's actions. The doctrine of transferred malice means, for instance, that if a man intends to strike a person with his belt, but the belt bounces off and hits another, mens rea is transferred from the intended target to the person who actually was struck.

Strict liability

Not all crimes require bad intent, and alternatively, the threshold of culpability required may be reduced. For example, it might be sufficient to show that a defendant acted negligently, rather than intentionally or recklessly. In offences of absolute liability, other than the prohibited act, it may not be necessary to show anything at all, even if the defendant would not normally be perceived to be at fault. Most strict liability offences are created by statute, and often they are the result of ambiguous drafting.

Fatal offenses

A murder, defined broadly, is an unlawful killing. Unlawful killing is probably the act most frequently targeted by the criminal law. In many jurisdictions, the crime of murder is divided into various gradations of severity, e.g., murder in the first degree, based on intent. Malice is a required element of murder. Manslaughter is a lesser variety of killing committed in the absence of malice, brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. Involuntary manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, recklessness.

Personal offenses

Many criminal codes protect the physical integrity of the body. The crime of battery is traditionally understood as an unlawful touching, although this does not include everyday knocks and jolts to which people silently consent as the result of presence in a crowd. Creating a fear of imminent battery is an assault, and also may give rise to criminal liability. Non-consensual intercourse, or rape, is a particularly egregious form of battery.

Property offenses

 

Property often is protected by the criminal law. Trespassing is unlawful entry onto the real property of another. Many criminal codes provide penalties for conversion, embezzlement, theft, all of which involve deprivations of the value of property. Robbery is a theft by force.

Participatory offenses

Some criminal codes criminalize association with a criminal venture or involvement in criminality that does not actually come to fruition. Some examples are aiding, abetting, conspiracy, and attempt.

Defenses

 

There are a variety of conditions that will tend to negate elements of a crime (particularly the intent element) that are known as defenses. The label may be apt in jurisdictions where the accused may be assigned some burden before a tribunal. However, in many jurisdictions, the entire burden to prove a crime is on the government, which also must prove the absence of these defenses, where implicated. In other words, in many jurisdictions the absence of these so-called defenses is treated as an element of the crime. So-called defenses may provide partial or total refuge from punishment.

Insanity

 

Insanity or mental disorder (Australia and Canada), may negate the intent of any crime, although it pertains only to those crimes having an intent element. A variety of rules have been advanced to define what, precisely, constitutes criminal insanity. The most common definitions involve either an actor's lack of understanding of the wrongfulness of the offending conduct, or the actor's inability to conform conduct to the law. If one succeeds in being declared "not guilty by reason of insanity," then the result frequently is treatment mental hospital, although some jurisdictions provide the sentencing authority with flexibility.

Automatism

 

Automatism is a state where the muscles act without any control by the mind, or with a lack of consciousness. One may suddenly fall ill, into a dream like state as a result of post traumatic stress, or even be "attacked by a swarm of bees" and go into an automatic spell. However to be classed as an "automaton" means there must have been a total destruction of voluntary control, which does not include a partial loss of consciousness as the result of driving for too long. Where the onset of loss of bodily control was blameworthy, e.g., the result of voluntary drug use, it may be a defense only to specific intent crimes.

Intoxication

 

In some jurisdictions, intoxication may negate specific intent, a particular kind of mens rea applicable only to some crimes. For example, lack of specific intent might reduce murder to manslaughter. Voluntary intoxication nevertheless often will provide basic intent, e.g., the intent required for manslaughter. On the other hand, involuntarily intoxication, for example by punch spiked unforeseeably with alcohol, may give rise to no inference of basic intent.

Self defense

 

Self-defense is, in general, some reasonable action taken in protection of self. An act taken in self-defense often is not a crime at all; no punishment will be imposed. To qualify, any defensive force must be proportionate to the threat. Use of a firearm in response to a non-lethal threat is a typical example of disproportionate force.

Duress

One who is "under duress" is forced into an unlawful act. Duress can be a defense in many jurisdictions, although not for the most serious crimes of murder, attempted murder, being an accessory to murder and in many countries, treason. The duress must involve the threat of imminent peril of death or serious injury, operating on the defendant's mind and overbearing his will. Threats to third persons may qualify. The defendant must reasonably believe the threat, and there is no defense if "a sober person of reasonable firmness, sharing the characteristics of the accused" would have responded differently. Age, pregnancy, physical disability, mental illness, sexuality have been considered, although basic intelligence has been rejected as a criterion.

The accused must not have foregone some safe avenue of escape. The duress must have been an order to do something specific, so that one cannot be threatened with harm to repay money and then choose to rob a bank to repay it. If one puts himself in a position where he could be threatened, duress may not be a viable defense.

Crime

The word crime comes from the Latin crimen (genitive criminis), from the Latin root cernō and Greek κρινω = "I judge". Originally it meant "charge (in law), guilt, accusation."

Informal relationships and sanctions have been deemed insufficient to create and maintain a desired social order, resulting in formalized systems of social control by the government, or more broadly, the State. With the institutional and legal machinery at their disposal, agents of the State are able to compel individuals to conform to behavioural norms and punish those that do not. Various mechanisms are employed to regulate behaviour, including rules codified into laws, policing people to ensure they comply with those laws, and other policies and practices designed to prevent crime. In addition are remedies and sanctions, and collectively these constitute a criminal justice system. Not all breaches of the law, however, are considered crimes, for example, breaches of contract and other civil law offenses. The label of "crime" and the accompanying social stigma are normally reserved for those activities that are injurious to the general population or the State, including some that cause serious loss or damage to individuals. The label is intended to assert an hegemony of a dominant population, or to reflect a consensus of condemnation for the identified behavior and to justify a punishment imposed by the State, in the event that an accused person is tried and convicted of a crime. The term "crime" can also technically refer to the use of criminal law to regulate minor infractions, such as traffic violations. Usually, the perpetrator of the crime is a natural person, but in some jurisdictions and in some moral environments, legal persons are also considered to have the capability of committing crimes. The State can also technically commit crimes, although this is only rarely reflected in the justice system.

A normative definition views crime as deviant behaviour that violates prevailing norms, specifically, cultural standards prescribing how humans ought to behave. This approach considers the complex realities surrounding the concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social, political, psychological, and economic conditions may affect the current definitions of crime and the form of the legal, law enforcement, and penal responses made by the State. These structural realities are fluid and often contentious. For example, as cultures change and the political environment shifts, behaviour may be criminalised or decriminalised, which will directly affect the statistical crime rates, determine the allocation of resources for the enforcement of such laws, and influence the general public opinion. Similarly, changes in the way that crime data are collected and/or calculated may affect the public perceptions of the extent of any given "crime problem". All such adjustments to crime statistics, allied with the experience of people in their everyday lives, shape attitudes on the extent to which law should be used to enforce any particular social norm. There are so many ways in which behaviour can be controlled without having to resort to the criminal justice system. Indeed, in those cases where there is no clear consensus on the given norm, the use of criminal law by the group in power to prohibit the behaviour of another group may be considered an improper limitation of the second group's freedom, and the ordinary members of society may lose some of their respect for the law in general whether the disputed law is actively enforced or not.

Laws that define crimes which violate social norms are set by legislatures, and are called mala prohibita. These laws vary from time to time and place to place, such as gambling laws. Other crimes, called mala in se, are nearly universally outlawed, such as murder, theft and rape.

Criminalization

· Criminalization might be intended as a pre-emptive, harm-reduction device, using the threat of punishment as a deterrent to those proposing to engage in the behavior causing harm. The State becomes involved because they usually believe costs of not criminalizing (i.e. allowing the harms to continue unabated) outweigh the costs of criminalizing it (i.e. restricting individual liberty in order to minimize harm to others).

· Criminalization may provide future harm reduction even after a crime, assuming those incarcerated for committing crimes are more likely to cause harm in the future.

· Criminalization might be intended as a way to make potential criminals pay for their crimes. In this case, criminalization is a way to set the price that one must pay (to society) for certain actions that are considered detrimental to society as a whole. In this sense criminalization can be viewed as nothing more than State-sanctioned revenge.

The process of criminalization is controlled by the State because:

· Even if the victims recognize that they are victims, they may not have the resources to investigate and seek legal redress for the injuries suffered: the enforcers formally appointed by the State have the expertise and the resources.

· The victims may only want compensation for the injuries suffered, while being indifferent to a possible desire for deterrence.

· Victims or witnesses of crimes might be deterred from taking any action if they fear retaliation. Even in policed societies, fear may inhibit reporting or co-operation in a trial.

· Victims do not have economies of scale to administer a penal system, let alone collect any fines levied by a court. Garoupa & Klerman (2002) warn that a rent-seeking government's primary motivation is to maximize revenue and so, if offenders have sufficient wealth, a rent-seeking government is more aggressive than a social-welfare-maximizing government in enforcing laws against minor crimes (usually with a fixed penalty such as parking and routine traffic violations), but more lax in enforcing laws against major crimes.

· The victims may be incapacitated or dead as a result of the crime.

History

The first civilizations had codes of law, containing both civil and penal rules mixed together, though these codes were not always recorded. According to Oppenheim (1964), the first known written codes were produced by the Sumerians, and it is known that the king Urukagina had an early code that does not survive. A later king, Ur-Nammu left the earliest code that has been discovered, creating a formal system in 57 articles, the Code of Ur-Nammu. The Sumerians later issued other codes including the "code of Lipit-Istar" (last king of the 3rd dynasty of Ur, Isin - 20th century BCE). This code contains some fifty articles and has been reconstructed by the comparison among several sources. As Kramer (1971: 4) states: "The Sumerian was deeply conscious of his personal rights and resented any encroachment on them, whether by his King, his superior, or his equal. No wonder that the Sumerians were the first to compile laws and law codes."

In Babylon, Driver and Mills (1952-55) and Skaist (1994) describe the successive legal codes, including the code of Hammurabi (one of the richest of ancient times), which reflected society's belief that law was derived from the will of the gods. Many of the States at this time were theocratic, and their codes of conduct were religious in origin or reference.

Sir Henry Maine (1861) studied the ancient codes and failed to find any criminal law in the modern sense of the word. While modern systems distinguish between offences against the "State" or "Community", and offences against the "Individual", what was termed the penal law of ancient communities was not the law of "Crimes" (crimina); it was the law of "Wrongs" (delicta). Thus, the Hellenic laws treated all forms of theft, assault, rape, and murder as private wrongs, and action for enforcement was up to the victim or their survivors (which was a challenge in that although there was law, there were no formalized courts in the earliest system). It was the Romans who systematized law and exported it to their Empire. Again, the initial rules of Roman Law were that assaults were a matter of private compensation. The significant Roman Law concept was of dominion . The pater familias was in possession of all the family and its property (including slaves). Hence, interference with any property was enforced by the pater. The Commentaries of Gaius on the Twelve Tables treated furtum (modern theft) as a tort. Similarly, assault and violent robbery were allied with trespass as to the pater's property (so, for example, the rape of a slave would be the subject of compensation to the pater as having trespassed on his "property") and breach of such laws created a vinculum juris (an obligation of law) that could only be discharged by the payment of monetary compensation (modern damages). Similarly, in the consolidated Teutonic Laws of the Germanic tribes, there was a complex system of money compensations for what would now be considered the complete range of criminal offences against the person from murder down.

Even though Rome abandoned England sometime around 400 AD, the Germanic mercenaries who had largely been enforcing the Roman occupation, stayed on and continued to use a mixture of Roman and Teutonic Law, with much written down by the early Anglo-Saxon Kings. But, it was not until a more unified Kingdom emerged following the Norman invasion and the King was attempting to assert power over the land and its peoples, that the modern concept emerged, namely that a crime is not only an offence against the "individual", it is also a wrong against the "State". This is a common law idea and the earliest conception of a criminal act involved events of such major significance that the "State" had to usurp the usual functions of the civil tribunals and direct a special law or privilegium against the perpetrator. All the earliest criminal trials were wholly extraordinary and arbitrary without any settled law to apply, whereas the civil delictual law was highly developed and consistent in its operation (except where the King wanted to raise money by selling a new form of Writ). The development of the idea that it is the "State" dispensing justice in a court only emerges in parallel with or after the emergence of the concept of sovereignty.

In continental Europe, Vinogradoff (1909) reports the persistence of Roman Law, but with a stronger influence from the Church. Coupled with the more diffuse political structure based on smaller State units, rather different legal traditions emerged, remaining more strongly rooted in Roman jurisprudence modified to meet the prevailing political climate. In Scandinavia, the effect of Roman law was not felt until the 17th century, and the courts grew out of the things, which were the assemblies of the people. The cases were decided by the people (usually largest freeholders dominating) which later gradually transformed into a system of a royal judge nominating a number of most esteemed men of the parish as his board, fulfilling the function of "the people" of yore.

From the Hellenic system onwards, the policy rationale for requiring the payment of monetary compensation for wrongs committed has been to avoid feuding between clans and families (note the concept of pater familias as a unifying factor in extended kin groups, and the later practice of wergild in this context). If families' feelings could be mollified by compensation, this would help to keep the peace. On the other hand, the threat of feudal warfare was played down also by the institution of oaths. Both in archaic Greece and in medieval Scandinavia, the accused was released if he could get a sufficient number of male relatives to swear him unguilty. This may be compared with the United Nations Security Council where the veto power of the permanent members ensures that the organization is not drawn into crises where it could not enforce its decisions. These means of restraining private feuds did not always work or prevented the fulfillment of justice but, in the earliest times, the "States" were not prepared to provide an independent police force. Thus, criminal law grew out of what is now tort and, in real terms, many acts and omissions that are classified as crimes overlap civil law concepts.

Reasons

Antisocial behaviour is criminalised and treated as offences against society which justifies punishment by the government. A series of distinctions are made depending on the passive subject of the crime (the victim), or on the offended interest(s), in crimes against:

· Personality of the State.

· Rights of the citizen.

· Public administration.

· Administration of justice.

· Religious sentiment and faith.

· Public order.

· Public economy, industry, and commerce.

· Public morality.

· Person and honour.

· Patrimony.

Or they can be distinguished depending on the related punishment with sentencing tariffs prescribed in line with the perceived seriousness of the offence with fines and noncustodial sentences for the least serious, and in some States, capital punishment for the most serious.

Types

Crime is generally classified into categories, including violent crime, property crime, and public order crime.

U.S. classification

 

In the United States since 1930, Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) have been tabulated annually by the FBI from crime data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the United States. This data is compiled at the city, county, and State levels into the Uniform crime reports (UCR). Violations of laws, which are derived from common law, are classified as Part I (index) crimes in UCR data, and further categorised as violent and property crimes. Part I violent crimes include murder and criminal homicide (voluntary manslaughter), forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery, while Part I property crimes include burglary, arson, larceny/theft, and motor vehicle theft. All other crimes are classified as Part II crimes.

Crimes are also grouped by severity, some common categorical terms being: felonies (US and previously UK), indictable offences (UK), misdemeanors (US and previously UK), and summary offences (UK). For convenience, infractions are also usually included in such lists although, in the U.S., they may not be the subject of the criminal law, but rather of the civil law.

The following are crimes in many criminal jurisdictions:

  • Arson (not in English law)
  • Assaults
  • Battery
  • Blackmail
  • Burglary
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Counterfeiting
  • Drug possession
  • Embezzlement
  • Espionage
  • Extortion
  • Forgery
  • Fraud/Deception offences
  • Homicide
  • Identity theft
  • Illegal gambling
  • Inchoate offenses
  • Kidnapping
  • Larceny
  • Looting
  • Motor vehicle theft/TWOC
  • Perjury
  • Piracy
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assaults
  • Smuggling
  • Stalking
  • Tax evasion
  • Terrorism
  • Theft
  • Treason
  • Trespass (not in English law)
  • Vandalism (see Criminal Damage Act 1971 for the codified offence in English law)
  • Weapon possession

 

Criminal procedure

Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated criminal law.







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