Magna Carta, also called ‘The Great Charter’ which was signed in 1215 by King John, has played an important role in the criminal justice system of Great Britain. In particular, Magna Carta established trial by jury, the appointment of judges, the use of evidence in trials, and it also enshrined ‘proportionality’, which ensured that the offender’s punishment was proportionate to the degree of the offence.
The main tool in the fight against crime is the police. A police service is a public force with the power to enforce the law of the land. Most countries have national police forces to maintain law and order, investigate criminal activity and prevent crimes. Without a police force, countries would be unable to adequately protect their citizens and therefore the police are the first step in tackling crime.
Types of Law Courts
There are a number of different types of law courts. In the UK there are the following:
- County Court
- Magistrates’ Court
- Crown Court
- Royal Courts of Justice
- Youth Court
- The Supreme Court
Each court deals with specific criminal and civil cases. Everyone has the right to a fair trial. When people are accused of committing a crime they are called defendants. The defendant does not have to prove their innocence — this is the job of the prosecution service. In many countries, though not in all, there is a ‘presumption of innocence’ meaning that anyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The correctional system is in place to ensure justice prevails. It can act as a punishment or a deterrent and also can help rehabilitate offenders.
Courts can pass the following sentences:
- Prison — this is passed for the most serious crimes
- Community sentence — this is a form of rehabilitation with unpaid work in the community, such as picking up litter or removing graffiti
- Monetary fine — this is the sentence for less serious offences and the amount of the fine can vary
- Conditional discharge — for the least serious offences — but if the offender commits another crime they may go to prison
Justice System Topics for Schools
The justice system topics we produce resources for include:
- How the Criminal Justice System Works
- Law Enforcement
- Court Systems
- Law and Order
Justice System Support for Schools
We publish digital justice system resources to support schools by providing help and guidance in an educational format. Our resource packs give the information in a way that informs as well as educates.
Justice System Support for Teachers
Our Justice system resources for teachers include justice system resource packs that cover a variety of subjects as well as our lesson plans on justice systems.
Justice System Support for Students
Teaching students about justice systems is important. Our aim is to produce resource packs that provide information and knowledge of justice systems.