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business and employment law

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Business and Employment Law
Introduction A particularly outstanding way to concretize the legal system in England is to understand the classification of the different categories of law. From a broad perspective, the law is grouped as either public law or private law. In brief, public law relates to the relationship between the state and an individual. It includes administrative law, constitutional law, and criminal law. On the other hand, private law governs the relationship between individual citizens and businesses in a legal system. It is comprised of civil law, land law, corporation law, competition law, and labor law. Predominantly, the civil law legal system involves the tort and contract law, both of which are found in the law of obligations. I support the statement that states the law of obligations, which is categorized under civil law and includes torts and contract laws, is fundamentally different from criminal law. My reason for this point of view is because, for instance, in criminal law, the courts commit the defendants to prison terms and fines if they are found to be guilty. This is different from civil law where the court commits the defendant to pay damages to the claimant, but never imprisons them. In brief, the jurisdictions differ in that in civil law, the guilty defendant only pays damages to the claimant but never imprisoned while, in criminal law, the court may imprison and fine a guilty defendant. In recent times, however, the raging debate has been about dividing the law of obligations in different ways that contrast with the traditional distinction between tort and contract.

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Even so, the question surrounding the overlap between the two classifications remains. For instance, any illegal acts, such as theft, can necessitate both a criminal and civil offense. Nevertheless, the most prominent distinction in English law is between criminal law and civil law. It is important to understand whether a particular action of companies or individuals constitutes a civil wrong or crime. This background of law is fundamental to determine where a case will be tried, what the parties involved in the case will be required to ascertain, the procedures, and outcomes of the case.
Balance of Probabilities versus Burden of Proof
It is important to differentiate the process involved in proving an individual’s assertion in court for both civil and criminal cases. The balance of probabilities principle applies in civil cases during the burden of proof principle in criminal cases. The balance of probabilities refers to a scenario where a claimant convinces and proves to the court that the evidence he or she has presented are not only true but also outweighs the defendant’s (Roach 6). An example of a civil case applying the balance of probabilities principle is Andreae v Selfridge and Co Ltd. In the said case, the claimant asserted the defendant’s demolition work was noisy and created an excessive amount of dust that interfered with the normal operation of a hotel business. Even though no injunction was granted, the claimant proved beyond reasonable doubt the interference of the demolitions and was successful to claim damages. In a criminal case, it is the state or the public prosecution office known as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that brings a case before a court of justice. The prosecutor (representing the state), unlike the claimant who represents his interests in the civil case, is required to prove the case against a criminal beyond any reasonable doubt. This is the hallmark of the burden of proof principle, which holds that the defendant is not required to prove his innocence. This was the case in Crown Prosecution Service v Jennings (Slorach 62). The CPS maintained the accused should not benefit from the proceeds gained from criminal conduct, even if such benefits are retained within the measure of their available means. Another difference between a criminal and civil case involves the verdict of the jury. On the part of a criminal case, the defendant is imprisoned or fined if found guilty. Therefore, it is the prosecutor job to convince the jurors beyond reasonable doubt that the allegations brought against the defendant are true. If the prosecutor fails in his submissions to the jury, then the defendant is considered not guilty. Criminal cases attract a jail term, fine, or acquittal while civil cases involve independent judgments for the claimant or defendant depending on the case’s outcome, but never imprisonment. Additionally, the jury’s verdict must be agreed unanimously by all jury members in a criminal case as opposed to a civil trial that requires only three-fourths of the members of the jury to agree.
Criminal Sanctions
The severity of sanctions between the civil law and criminal law differs. In criminal law, the sanctions are sterner than those applied in civil cases. The civil law regards the conduct that is not serious enough to attract a criminal penalty. For instance, the parties aggrieved in a tort law are supposed to be compensated for the damages caused by the wrong wrongdoer, as compared to the criminal law that punishes the wrongdoer with imprisonment, fine, or death (Jones 12). An example is of civil sanction is the case Tate & Lyle Industries Ltd v Greater London Council [1983] 2 AC 509. The claimants had built a jetty on the Thames bank where they loaded refined sugar onto boats. Afterward, they obtained another license from the Port of London Authority (PLA) to build a new jetty meant for off-loading raw sugar. Additionally, the PLA granted a different company, GLC, a license to build two ferry terminals, which in turn, affected operations of the claimant’s company due to the formation of silt by the new ferries. The claimant sued both PLA and GLC for nuisance and was awarded damages (Roach 166). Regarding the offenses in civil law, they include breach of contract, employment law disputes, cases concerning the sale of goods, slander, or negligence. On the other hand, offenses in criminal cases are more atrocious. They include corporate manslaughter, murder, or sexual assaults. Other punishments meted out by criminal law include payment of restitution, the performance of community service and probation. Corporate manslaughter, for instance, involves the death of employees that arise out of gross management failures or breach of safety precautions by organizations and companies. An example of such a case is R v J Murray & Son Limited. In the said case, an employee was drugged and killed in an animal mixing machine because the company failed to ensure the health and safety precautions in its premise. The company and the director were charged with manslaughter, and the case attracted a fine of £100,000.  
Courts
In general, the criminal law cases are heard in either the Crown Court or Magistrates Courts. For instance, Health and Safety cases bedeviling companies or businesses are brought before the Magistrates Courts by enforcement officers. An example is the John Summers & Sons Ltd v Frost (1955) 1 A11 ER 870 case. The claimant sued the company because of injuries incurred while grinding a piece of metal in a machine that was not guarded. The Magistrates Court fined the company and even ordered them to pay restitution to the claimant (Hughes et al., 15). This is because they had breached the statutory duty by not fencing the machine, which would have avoided harming the employee. Further, a bench comprising three lay magistrates or a District Judge usually tries the cases brought against the company. The District Judge is a legally qualified individual while the lay magistrates comprise of members of the public with little experience in law. Regarding the health and safety offenses of a company or business, for instance, the District Judge may impose an unlimited fine or even declare an imprisonment sentence for up to 12 months. By contrast, the Crown Court and Court of Appeal rules in more serious cases passed from the Magistrates Court. This is because the sentences of the Magistrates Court are usually more lenient. For instance, the case of R v. Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd (2011) All ER (D) 100 attracted a corporate manslaughter charge after an employee died due to safety mishaps by the company (Jones 24). This was taken by the Court of Appeal because of its severity and attracted a hefty fine of £385,000. On the other hand, civil law is heard in the County Court and High Court. The County Court is the lowest court of civil law and deals with the minor company or individual cases. Cases are heard by a lone judge. Even so, the High Court hears the majority civil cases of companies and individuals.
Case Names
The naming of both the civil and criminal actions has slight differences. In a civil case, the names of the parties usually commence with the claimant’s name, followed by the small letter v (for “versus”) then the defendant’s name (Jones 13). For instance, in a case pitting Brown against Lock, the name of the legal case will appear as, Brown v Lock, implying that Brown is the claimant while Lock, the defendant. Examples of such cases include Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd [2002] UKHL 22 and Barker v Corus (UK) plc [2006] UKHL 20, all of which were cases concerning employee safety. On the other hand, a criminal prosecution is usually brought in the name of the Queen against the defendant. Assuming a case is pronounced against Bell by the government, the case name will be R v. Bell or Regina v. Bell. The R stands for Rex, which denotes a king while Regina stands for the Queen (Jones 60). An example is the R v JMW Farm Ltd [2012] NICC 17 in which the defendant was fined £187,000 when a metal bin from a forklift driven by the one of the company’s directors hit an employee thereby killing him. Moreover, in some specific offenses and complex cases, the prosecution bears the name of the Attorney General (AG), or the head of CPS referred to as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The case is cited Attorney General (AG) v Defendant or Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) v Defendant. An example is the DPP v Smithe (1961) AC 290 where the defendant was convicted of murder when he killed a police officer.
Conclusion
The law can be categorized differently, most pronounced being either private or public law. In England, the most important distinction of law is the civil and criminal law. These differences are important because, in her legal system, criminal cases are completely different from civil cases. Further, separate laws regulate each type of the cases with all having different remedies. The civil law concerns rules that protect the company and individual rights from harmful and illegal acts while criminal law concerns offenses committed by companies or individual and affects the society. The aggrieved individual, who brings the case before a court, is referred to as the claimant in civil cases, while, in a criminal case, the state takes up the legal action through the CPS. Regarding the hearing of the cases, a criminal case is first heard in either the High Court or County Court, as opposed to a criminal case that is heard in the Crown Court or Magistrates Court. Further, the claimant must prove his case on the balance of probabilities in a civil case as compared to a criminal court where the prosecutor must prove the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. When a defendant is found liable in a civil case, this necessitates judgment to be entered for the claimant, while if the defendant is found to be not liable, judgment will be entered for the defendant. In a criminal case, however, the defendant will be acquitted if found not guilty and convicted if found guilty. Admittedly, the framework of law covers a variety of areas and categories that have distinct verdicts for the accused individual or company.

Works Cited
Andreae v Selfridge and Co Ltd [1938] Ch 1
Barker v Corus (UK) plc [2006] UKHL 20
Crown Prosecution Service v Jennings [2008] UKHL 29
DPP v Smithe (1961) AC 290
Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd [2002] UKHL 22
Hughes, Phil, and Ed Ferrett. Introduction to Health and Safety at Work: The Handbook for the Nebosh National General Certificate. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003. Print.
John Summers & Sons Ltd v Frost (1955) 1 A11 ER 870
Jones, L. Introduction to Business Law, 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. pp 3–15.
R v JMW Farm Ltd [2012] NICC 17
R v J Murray & Son Limited [2013] NICC 15
R v. Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd (2011) All ER (D) 100
Roach, Lee. Card & James’ Business Law for Business, Accounting & Finance Students. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Slorach, J S, Judith Embley, Peter Goodchild, and Catherine Shephard. Legal Systems & Skills. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
Tate & Lyle Industries Ltd v Greater London Council [1983] 2 AC 509

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