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The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law

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Presentation on theme: "The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law
YR 12 LEGAL STUDIES The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law

2 The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law
When is a legal problem criminal and when is it civil? What difference does it make whether it is criminal or civil?

3 The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law
Deals with public interest. e.g., the public has an interest in seeing that people are protected from being robbed or assaulted Criminal law involves punishing, rehabilitating and protecting society. Since the public has an interest in having criminal law, we give the government the power to put it in place and enforce it.

4 The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law
If you are the victim of a crime, you report it to the police and they investigate. They arrest and charge the suspect. As a victim, you do not have to be responsible for enforcing the law. The police and Crown Prosecutor do their jobs for the public at large, not for you personally.

5 The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law
In a criminal case, the Crown prosecutor must prove the defendant’s guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt.”

6 The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law
This is not the case in civil law. Civil law is about private disputes between individuals or organizations. Civil matters include areas such as contract law & tort law, The person suing for a wrong has the burden of proving their case on a "balance of probabilities." This means that a judge or jury must believe their story more than the defendant’s version.

7 The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law
Civil disputes usually involve some harm, loss or injury to one party or their property. Civil law is primarily involved with compensating victims. While a defendant in a criminal case may be found "guilty" or "not guilty," a defendant in a civil case is said to be "liable" or "not liable" for damages.

8 The Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law
If you have a civil law problem, you have to take action yourself if you want to get a legal remedy. You can hire a private lawyer, and you will have to pay the expenses of pursuing the matter. The police do not get involved. If you want to sue, it is your responsibility to do so.

9 What is a Tort? The word tort simply means a "wrong."
A tort occurs when someone deliberately or through carelessness causes harm or loss to another person or their property. The main purpose of tort law is for the wrongdoer to compensate (pay back) the person who suffered a loss or injury The wrongdoer must repay the injured person.

10 What is a Tort? There are many situations where people are harmed by someone else’s action, but no crime has taken place. Suppose Deana tripped on a loose rug in a restaurant and sprained her ankle. Deana may have suffered a wrong, but the restaurant owner is not a criminal. The restaurant owner; however, may have to compensate Deana for a civil wrong—the tort of negligence.

11 What is a Tort? Although a tort and a crime are two different things, sometimes one action can be both. Where someone has deliberately injured another person, as in cases of assault, the person committing the assault may be charged with a crime in a criminal court. That person may also be responsible for compensating the injured person for things such as medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

12 McErlean v. Sarel Case Study
The Facts McErlean, age 14, was riding a trail bike in an abandoned gravel pit owned by the City of Brampton. As McErlean raced down a smooth gravel road, he and another boy, Sarel, collided at a sharp, blind curve in the road. McErlean had been riding at speeds from 55 to 80 kilometres an hour. Sarel had difficulty controlling his bike and was driving on the wrong side of the road. McErlean suffered brain damage that left him paralysed and unable to speak. McErlean sued Sarel for negligence, and the City of Brampton for negligence as owners of the property.

13 McErlean v. Sarel Case Study
Questions on Consider What standard of care applied to the boys while riding their trail bikes? Was McErlean negligent in racing his trail bike on the road at the gravel pit? Was Sarel negligent? Was the City of Brampton, the owner of the land, responsible because it allowed an unusual danger (the gravel road with the curve in it) to exist? How would you decide this case and why?

14 McErlean v. Sarel Case Study
The Judge’s Decision The trial judge found Sarel negligent and held that the City of Brampton was also responsible. The City had allowed an unusual danger, the blind curve, to harm McErlean. McErlean was also responsible too; his fault was set at 10%, Sarel’s at 15% and the City’s at 75%. The City of Brampton appealed. On the appeal the City argued that the blind curve was not an unusual danger.

15 McErlean v. Sarel Case Study
The Court of Appeal overturned the trial judge’s finding that the City was not liable. It held that the road was not an usual danger for its users. The boys were not young enough to make it an unusual danger for them. Also, the boys had been engaged in an adult activity, so their conduct would be measured against adult standards. The Court of Appeal found the boys were each 50% at fault.

16 Robertson v. Butler Case Study
The Facts Derrick Robertson, Matthew Butler and several other friends were riding motorized trail bikes. The back brake of Matthew’s trail bike was not working. During the afternoon the front brake lever dislodged. One of the boys wedged it back in place, but the rider still had to hold it in place. All the boys were aware of this. Derrick borrowed Matthew’s bike and began riding it down a hill. The brakes failed; he hit a rock and broke his arm and leg. He and his parents sued Matthew’s parents for damages.

17 Robertson v. Butler Case Study
Questions on Consider What standard of care would you expect a 14- year-old to use when operating a motorized trail bike? On rocky terrain? Were Matthew’s parents liable for not ensuring that the bike was used safely? How would you decide this case and why?

18 Robertson v. Butler Case Study
The Judge’s Decision The judge held that Derrick and Matthew were both liable for Derrick’s injuries. Matthew was partly responsible for Derrick’s injuries, and Matthew’s parents failed to supervise and control Matthew’s actions. It was their responsibility to train Matthew to operate a trail bike properly and to ensure that he would obey their instructions. They did not do this; they were found liable for 25% of Derrick’s injuries.

19 Robertson v. Butler Case Study
The judge held Derrick to an adult standard because driving a trail bike is an adult activity. Derrick’s conduct in driving the trail bike did not meet this standard. The judge said Derrick should have checked the brakes before starting down the hill. He was held 75% at fault for his own injuries.

20 Robertson v. Butler Case Study
More Questions to Consider In this case Derrick recovered only 25% of his damages from Matthew’s parents. Damages were assessed at about $16,000; therefore, Derrick recovered only $4,000. Was it a good idea to sue in this case? What other options could Derrick and his family have considered?

21 Poirier v. Murphy Case Study
The Facts Peter Poirier and John Murphy, both 18 years of age, agreed to carry out a "stunt." The stunt was performed in an underground parking garage. Peter stood underneath a water sprinkler pipe. After Peter nodded, John began driving his car from about 100 feet away and, at the last moment, Peter would jump up, grab the pipe, do a chin- up, swerve his hips and legs to one side and clear the car. The stunt was performed safely a first time, but the second time Peter was not prepared for it. Peter was hit by the car and injured. He became unconscious, suffered a brain injury, and underwent lasting personality and emotional changes.

22 Poirier v. Murphy Case Study
Questions to Consider Did Peter knowingly assume the risk of harm when he agreed to carry out the stunt? Was John negligent? Did he fail to take proper care to avoid harm to Peter? Did Peter contribute to his own injuries by not taking reasonable care of himself? How would you decide the case and why?

23 Poirier v. Murphy Case Study
The Judge’s Decision The judge held that Peter had given up his right to sue for negligence the first time the stunt was performed, because he willingly assumed the risk of harm. The second performance of the stunt was different because Peter was not ready to perform the stunt. Peter did not assume a risk until he nodded his approval, and he did not do so for the second run.

24 Poirier v. Murphy Case Study
Both Peter and John were negligent. John was negligent because he owed a duty as the driver of the car to take care. He should have realized that Peter was not ready for the second stunt. John was 2/3 at fault. Peter was also partly responsible for his own injuries. He was negligent in agreeing to do the stunt and in not removing himself from the risk of harm before the second stunt. Peter was 1/3 at fault.

25 Wilkins v. Allaby Case Study
The Facts Five-year old Donald Wilkins ran into the street from the sidewalk near a crosswalk, and was struck by a car driven by Hellen Allaby. Donald, accompanied by a day-care teacher and three other children, was returning to the day-care centre after an outing to a toy store. At the time of the accident Donald was five years and ten months old. He walked to the day-care centre with his mother and crossed busy streets to get there. He often went on supervised walks from the day-care centre and crossed busy city streets, including the street where the accident occurred. Donald was bright, intelligent and experienced. Hellen Allaby saw the children beside the road, but she did not reduce her speed.

26 Wilkins v. Allaby Case Study
Questions to Consider Can a five-year old child be held responsible for contributing to his own harm? What things should be considered in deciding whether a young child is responsible or not? How would you decide this case and why?

27 Wilkins v. Allaby Case Study
The Judge’s Decision The driver of the car, Hellen Allaby, was liable for damages caused by her negligent driving. She had seen the children on the sidewalk, but had not reduced her speed. There is a heavy responsibility on the driver of a car when she or he is aware that children are waiting to cross a busy street. Because the driver had not reduced her speed, she was at fault.

28 Wilkins v. Allaby Case Study
A young child should be judged by standards appropriate for a child of similar age, intelligence and experience. Donald was a child of average intelligence, and was experienced in crossing city streets. Children are not held to adult standards of care. But a child such as Donald might be expected to take care not to cross the street when cars are coming. A child who had no experience crossing city streets, or a younger child, would not be held to the same standard.

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