The law - Crime and criminal procedure

11 important questions on The law - Crime and criminal procedure

Comment on the feeling among the British public that crime is increasing.

Figures on this matter are hard to evaluate. It is said that not crime is increasing, but the nature of crime is changing. There is more violent crime (with arms). The fear of crime is increasing and there is a lack of confidence in the ability of the police to catch criminals.

What consequences does the fear of increasing crime have?


The growth of private security firms and of Neighbourhood Watch Scemes. Also some laws concerning making arrests and keeping people in custody by the police have been altered lately. Custody (being held without being charged) changed from 24 hours to 28 days in 2005 after terrorist attacs, and then even to 42 days in 2008.


What is the Dutch equivalent of ‘community service’

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What is a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme?

It is a scheme that attempts to educate people in crime prevention and to encourage the people of a particular neighbourhood to keep their eyes open for anything suspicious. There are more than 100,000 of these in Britain.


Explain the difference between a magistrate and a judge.

A judge  leads the trial in the  a  Crown court, he is a professional lawyer. He doesn'pass judgemennt as the jury does that, but he imposes punishment and acts as a referee.

Explain how a jury works

In a Crown Court, a jury of approx. 12 people randomnly  selected on a list of voters. They are no experts in law or anything but random 'normal' people of good conduct . Amateurs.  Their job is to  decide whether a suspect is guilty. To pass judgement at least 10 of them must agree. If  they don't succeed the judge has to declare a mistrial. A criminal can appeal to have his verdict squashed or altered to the Appeal Court in London.

What is the difference between a solicitor and a barrister?

A solicitor deals with the public and every day life matters, they  work in Magistrates' courts. They studied law at University eg Camebridge.  A Barrister is more highly educated, has studied in one of the four Inns of Court of London and is considered senior to a solicitor.  He works in a Crown court and may become a judge. Barristers have high status and earn high pay. Barristers are often a bit divorced from reality.

What are the Inns of Court in London?

That's where barristers have studied law.

What is ‘to take silk’? And ‘to be called to the bar’

to take silk: to achieve the rank of  Queen's Counsel(after at least 10 years in practice). Only a Barrister can achieve this.
to be called to the bar:  to present a case in a higher court

what is on bail and what is the opposite

suspect may go free until his trial but must pay a certain amount of money, the opposite is on remand: suspect must await trial in prison

What are a claimant and what is the other pary called

civil court case: the person who make the claim; the person whom a claim is brought in against is respondent


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