Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Court History and Purpose Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 words

Court History and Purpose - Essay Example In the United States of America, courts are organized into two systems; the state and federal court systems. In this respect, the U.S. court system is organized in dual or has a two-tier structure as noted by Siegel, Schmalleger and Worrall (2011). The state courts have the responsibility of hearing cases that do not involve the federal government or several states. The two tier system historically came about as original colonies surrendered their independence to the central government while maintaining jurisdictional distinction. The development of courts in the U.S. is a result of several factors. Some of the elements that have played a role in court development in this respect include common law, early legal codes, and precedent (Siegel, Schmalleger & Worrall, 2011). Common law tradition that is applicable in the U.S. today originated in England (, 2012). This tradition was applied in British colonies in the middle ages. On the other hand, civil law tradition orig inated in the same period in continental Europe. The tradition was applied in European colonies including Portugal and Spain and later was adopted by numerous countries including Japan and Russia. Civil law systems have legal codes that are comprehensive and that are constantly updated. Civil law outlines the framework within which judges work and make rulings with legal scholars and legislators playing the more critical roles in the system. Civil law originated in Latin and was applicable to all citizens of Rome. In time, ancient Roman law principles were adopted by Europeans in an effort to meet modern needs (Stein, 2009). With the practice of civil law in Europe became common practice, local customs found a significant role as a basis for the development of law. The U.S. legal system is firmly grounded on common law tradition as practiced in England in the early days (, 2012). In as much as common law relies on a few statutes, most decisions made in this respect are based on precedent. This means that the courts today make decisions on issues based on similar cases that have been decided in the past. Generally uncodified, common law has been practiced in courts based on court records, and year books. As an example, Louisiana state law is founded on civil law (codified law) owing to the fact that the state was previously a territory for the Spanish and French (, 2012). California on the other hand has a state civil code that is based on traditional Roman civil law although the law as practiced is mostly common law. The state’s current community property law, for example, is based on the legal customs of ancient Spain as opposed to English common law (, 2012). As can be seen from the examples given above, the common and civil law traditions as applied in the U.S. courts have a rich history and are associated with ancient foundations of modern law. Role of courts in criminal justice Criminal justice enc ompasses the set of government institutions and practices that are dedicated to the maintenance of social order, crime prevention, and sanctioning of those who contravene the law. While several organizations and government agencies form part of the criminal justice system, one of the main players in this respect is the court. The court plays a major function in criminal justice system. The separation of the roles of elements of the criminal

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