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- Law is divided into two categories, criminal law and civil law.
- All criminal laws have punishments that will apply if you are found guilty of breaking them.
- If you are accused and arrested for a criminal offence then you will go to court where it will be decided if you are guilty or not guilty, at this stage you are being prosecuted for a crime.
- Those people found not guilty are then free to go.
- Those found guilty are convicted of the crime and are known as offenders.
- The court will decide the level of punishment for the offence and will start the procedure for the offender to pay a fine, carry out community service, or start a custodial sentence i.e. time in prison or a young offender's institution or other punishment that is considered suitable.
- Civil law deals with all the non-criminal areas of the law.
- As a U.K. citizen you have rights and it is when these rights are dishonoured i.e. civil laws are broken that you are able to take the person who broke the law to court.
- Your rights cover a number of areas including, custody after parents' separation, education, housing, shopping, marriage and divorce.
- The U.K. is part of the European Union and has agreed to apply new laws that have been decided by the member sates of the E.U.
- European law has become an important source of law in Britain. This means that all our current and future laws must not break the principles set out in the European treaties that we have signed.
- Further information on laws that are current on:Statute Law