Substantive Criminal Law Essay

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When processing an accused for a crime we need to look at if they have legally broken the law, the technicality of their actions, how those laws in Canada came to be passed, and how to protect the rights of the accused as they are tried through the criminal justice system (Goff, 2013: 29). Criminal law is broken down into two sections, substantive criminal law, and procedural criminal law. Substantive criminal law is the legal definitions of crime and defines what is to be considered a crime. Most criminal laws involve the terms mens rea, actus reus, and harm, in determining whether or not an act is deemed criminal. Laws define what is criminal, but it is up to the criminal justice system, and those who work within it, to interpret those laws when dealing out punishments (Goff, 2013: 29). Procedural law on the other hand, is how those laws defined in substantive criminal law get enforced. It is the criminal justice processes that an offender goes through, and includes safeguards to protect the accused as they make their way through these processes (rules of evidence, law of search and seizure, and right to counsel are the examples given). Procedural criminal law is often referred to as due process, but in the Charter of Rights and…show more content…
Scope of the law deems that all people in society fall under the rule of law, and there is no exemptions to this. Character of the law posits that all of the laws need to be public, understandable, and clear in the requirements of the law. This goes back to the critique of law given by Beccaria, and how he pushed for laws in society to be easily understood by those in that society. Institution of law includes practices such as an independent judiciary, having laws written, and having the right to a fair hearing. The institutions of law are there to keep the law fair and just (Goff, 2013:
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