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Comparison between Legal System of Romania,UK and USA

The Judicial System in Romania

The modern legal system in Romania dates back to the mid-19th century. The Romanian legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code. The judiciary is to be independent, and judges appointed by the president are not removable. The president and other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed for a term of 6 years and may serve consecutive terms. Proceedings are public, except in special circumstances provided for by law. The judicial power belongs to a hierarchical system of courts culminating with the supreme court, The High Court of Justice and Cassation. The Romanian judicial system is an inquisitorial system, with a strong French influence. The Constitutional Court judges issues of constitutionality when invoked in any judicial court and judges the compliance of laws or other state regulations to the Romanian Constitution, if these are brought before it. It follows the tradition of the French Constitutional Council in requiring 9 judges to hold a 9-year, non-renewable term. Following the 2003 revision of the Constitution, its decisions cannot be overturned by any majority of the Parliament. The High Court of Cassation and Justice is the highest judicial authority. Its judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Superior Council of Magistrates. The Ministry of Justice represents "the general interests of society" and defends the rule of law as well as citizens' rights and freedoms. The ministry is to discharge its powers through independent, impartial public prosecutors. To fulfill its responsibility for the functioning of the courts and the supervision of state marshals, state notaries, and the national bar organization, the Ministry of Justice was divided into six directorates: civil courts , military courts , studies and legislation , personnel , administration , planning and accounting. The 1992 law on reorganization of the judiciary established a four-tier legal system, including the reestablishment of appellate courts, which existed prior to Communist rule in 1952. The four tiers consist of courts of: first instance Courts , intermediate appellate level courts , a Supreme Court , a Constitutional Court. The court system also includes military courts. Military courts were established on a territorial basis, subdivisions being determined by the Council of Ministers. Under the law, the courts are independent of the executive branch. The constitution vests

authority for selection and promotion of judges in the Ministry of Justice. Judges are appointed for life by the president upon recommendation from a panel of judges and prosecutors selected by parliament. The Ministry of Justice exercises powers related to administration of the justice system, execution of punishments, as well as in connection with the activity of the Public Ministry, based on strict application of the laws and in keeping with the democratic principles of the rule of law, ensuring adequate conditions for the entire justice system. The Romanian Constitution reinstated the Superior Council of the Magistracy, a body of the judicial authority with management powers and disciplinary jurisdiction. Its members are elected directly from the general assemblies of the magistrates by court levels, their list being forwarded through the permanent offices of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate to the legal commissions with a view to hearings in a joint session. Subsequently, the list of candidates is put to the vote in a joint session of the two chambers of Parliament.

The U.S. Legal System The US Judiciary

The US judiciary is independent of the government and consists of the Supreme Court, the US Court of Appeals and the US District Courts. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, consists of nine judges who are appointed for life by the President. Its decisions are final and legally binding on all parties. In deciding cases, the Supreme Court reviews the activities of state and federal governments and decides whether laws are constitutional. The Supreme Court has nullified laws passed by Congress and even declared the actions of US presidents unconstitutional. Momentous judgements in recent years have involved the Watergate scandal, racial segregation, abortion and capital punishment. However, when appointing a Supreme Court judge, the Presidents selection is based on a candidates political and other views, which must usually correspond with his own. The Supreme Court was for many years made up of members with a liberal or reformist outlook, although this trend has been reversed in recent years with the appointment of conservative judges by successive Republican presidents. The federal courts A separate system of federal courts operates alongside state courts and deals with cases arising under the US Constitution or any law or treaty. Federal courts also hear disputes involving state governments or between citizens resident in different states. Cases falling within federal jurisdiction are heard before a federal district judge. Appeals can be made to the Circuit Court of Appeals and in certain cases to the US Supreme Court. The civil and criminal courts Theres a clear separation and distinction between civil courts, which settle disputes between people (such as property division after a divorce), and criminal courts that prosecute those who

break the law. Crimes are categorised as minor offences (misdemeanours) or serious violations of the law (felonies). Misdemeanours include offences such as dropping litter, illegal parking or jay-walking, and are usually dealt with by a fine without a court appearance. Felonies, which include robbery and drug dealing, are tried in a court of law and those found guilty are generally sentenced to prison (jail). In many counties and cities, there are often eccentric local laws (usually relating to misdemeanours rather than felonies).

In the United States, laws are made at the federal and state levels. Laws adopted by legislative bodies - Congress and state legislatures - are called "statutes." The federal and state courts enforce statutes. They also create law. These materials describe some of the basic concepts of our legal system, and the roles played by legislatures and courts.
Types of Courts There are several types of courts. The federal and state court systems consist of two levels of courts: Trial courts and appellate courts. Cases are tried in trial courts. Appellate courts review the decisions of the trial courts. (Appellate and trial courts are discussed in "Civil Lawsuits," later in this summary.)

The federal court system is divided into 13 judicial circuits. Eleven of the circuits are numbered. Each of the numbered circuits contains more than one state. The Ninth Circuit, for example, covers California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii. The 12th and 13th circuits are the District of Columbia Circuit and the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit handles appeals in patent cases and Claims Court cases. Each federal circuit has one appellate court. These courts are known as Courts of Appeals or Circuit Courts. The Supreme Court reviews the decisions of the Courts of Appeals. Each federal circuit is divided into judicial districts. A district can be as small as one city or as large as an entire state. The trial courts are known as the United States District Courts.
FINDING THE LAW Because law is made by the courts on a precedent basis following the doctrine of stare decisis , and also made by Congress and the state legislatures, knowing the law on a given topic generally requires a review of both statutory law and case law.


Federal and state statutory laws can be found by consulting published "codifications" of laws in law libraries maintained by law schools, law firms, courts, and bar associations. To find a federal law such as the Copyright Act, for example, you would look in the United States Code, which is divided into "titles." Federal and state statutory laws can also be obtained "on-line" from Westlaw or Lexis, two computerized legal research services.

Recently adopted laws may not be included in the published codifications of statutes. While the publishers of these codifications add new material regularly (in "pocket parts" inserted at the back of appropriate volumes), even the pocket parts may not include laws adopted in the most recent session of the legislature.

The Legal System of the United Kingdom

INTRODUCTION The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) consists of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Some law applies throughout the whole of the UK; some applies in only one, two or three countries. This webpage describes law that applies either to the whole of the UK, or to England and Wales. It does not cover law that applies only to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. SOURCES OF UK LAW The four principal sources of UK law are legislation, common law, European Union law and the European Convention on Human Rights. There is no single series of documents that contains the whole of the law of the UK. Legislation Legislation is law that is created by a legislature. The most important pieces of legislation are Acts of Parliament. The principal legislature is the UK Parliament, which is based in London. This is the only body that has the power to pass laws that apply in all four countries. The UK Parliament consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The House of Commons consists of 650 Members of Parliament (MPs). Each MP represents a defined geographic constituency, whose electors vote using a first-past-the-post system. Each elector has one vote, and the candidate with the highest number of votes is elected as MP for that constituency. In May 2011, a referendum will be held on whether the voting system should change to an Alternative Vote system. If this happens, the number of constituencies will be reduced to 600.

The House of Lords consists of nearly 800 peers, of whom 600 are formally appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The other members of the House of Lords are people who have inherited aristocratic titles such as Lord or Lady, and senior bishops of the Church of England. The Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and National Assembly for Wales each have the power to pass laws on devolved matters: these laws apply only in the country in which they were passed. Each of these legislatures has its own website. Common law The legal system of England and Wales is a common law one, so the decisions of the senior appellate courts (see below) become part of the law. European Union Law The UK is a Member State of the European Union (EU), which means that EU law takes precedence over UK law. The European Convention on Human Rights As a Member State of the Council of Europe, the UK is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Human Rights Act 1998, which came into effect in October 2000, enables all the courts in the UK to protect the rights identified in the ECHR. HOW UK LAW IS CLASSIFIED A distinction is made between public law, which governs the relationship between individual citizens and the state, and private law, which governs relationships between individuals and private organisations. For practical purposes, the most significant distinction is between civil law and criminal law. Civil law covers such areas as contracts, negligence, family matters, employment, probate and land law. Criminal law, which is a branch of public law, defines the boundaries of acceptable conduct. A person who breaks the criminal law is regarded as having committed an offence against society as a whole. HOW CIVIL LAW IS ENFORCED IN ENGLAND AND WALES A person who believes that another individual or organisation has committed a civil wrong can complete a claim form and send it to the appropriate court. The County Court, which is based at over 200 locations, deals with most claims involving less than 25,000 and claims for less than 50,000 that involve injury to a person. The High Court, which is in London, hears most higher-value cases. In the County and High Courts, each case is heard by a single judge.

The person who starts a civil case is called a claimant, and he or she has the burden of proving that, more probably than not, the other party (the defendant) committed a civil wrong. If the claimant is successful, the usual remedy is damages: a sum of money paid by the defendant to the claimant. Other remedies, such as a court order that prohibits a person from behaving in a certain way, are available in some circumstances. Either party to a civil case may appeal to a higher court against the decision. HOW CRIMINAL LAW IS ENFORCED IN ENGLAND AND WALES A person who believes that a crime has been committed contacts the police, who conduct an investigation. If, after arresting and interviewing a person, the police believe that he or she committed the crime, that individual is charged. A report of the case is then sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). If the CPS believes that the case has a reasonable prospect of success, and that it would be in the public interest to do so, it will start criminal proceedings against the suspect, who becomes the defendant in the case. In court, the CPS bears the burden of proving, beyond reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the crime. Minor offences, such as speeding, are heard by Magistrates Courts. Many towns in England and Wales have their own Magistrates Court, where cases are heard by three magistrates. Magistrates do not need any legal qualifications, and they are advised by a Clerk, who is a qualified lawyer. Magistrates do not state reasons for their decisions. Very serious offences, such as murder and rape, are heard in the Crown Court. The Crown Court is based in about 90 centres throughout England and Wales. A jury consisting of 12 people chosen at random from the local population will decide, without giving reasons, whether the defendant is guilty of the offence. Usually a jurys decision will be unanimous, but the judge may decide that an 11:1 or 10:2 majority is sufficient. The jury is advised about the law by the judge, whose role also includes imposing a sentence if the defendant is found guilty. Some intermediate offences, such as theft, may be tried in a Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. The sentences available for criminal offences include fines (payment of a sum of money to the state), imprisonment and community punishments such as unpaid supervised work. THE SENIOR APPELLATE COURTS OF THE UK Appellate courts are those that only hear appeals from other courts. The two most senior appellate courts are the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal, which encompasses only England and Wales, consists of a Civil Division and a Criminal Division. The Civil Division hears appeals against decisions of the

High Court, while the Criminal Division hears appeals about alleged errors of law in the Magistrates and Crown Courts. Cases are heard by three Lords Justices of Appeal, each of whom reaches an individual decision that may consist of a lengthy speech. The Courts decision may be reached either by unanimity or by a 2:1 majority. Appeals from the Court of Appeal are heard by the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the UK. It hears civil appeals from all four countries, and criminal appeals from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court will be given only if a case raises a point of general public importance. Cases are heard by five, seven or nine of the 12 Justices of the Supreme Court, each of whom reaches an individual decision that may consist of a lengthy speech. The Courts decision may be reached either by unanimity or by a simple majority. Decisions made in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court and the Supreme Courts predecessor, the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords become precedents that must be followed by courts in all future cases. This ensures that similar cases are treated similarly, which many people regard as one of the most important aspects of justice.