International Criminal Justice Systems Comparison
There are several types of the criminal justice system. One of them is based on civil law tradition, which implies that various regulations are strictly codified into a single system that should guide the decisions of legal professionals. This collection of regulations is the main source of rules which are used to determine whether an action is legitimate or what kind of punishment should be imposed for a certain crime. This model is adopted in various European countries. According to this model, judges should have a high degree of autonomy. Furthermore, this legal system enables a person accused of a serious felony to ask for a trial by jury.
In turn, it is possible to mention the common law system. This model implies that judges can introduce new legal norms. It should be noted that these professionals can interpret existing laws such as the constitution of the country or the bills of rights. For instance, in America, the judges often interpret the Amendments to the Constitution of the United Statements to determine whether the actions of a person are consistent with the legislation. This feature distinguishes this criminal justice system from the civil code tradition. In this case, these legal professionals have a high degree of autonomy. It is possible to mention several examples showing how the criminal justice system is affected by the common law system.
The famous Miranda rules that are obligatory for every police officer were introduced in the course of the Supreme Court case Miranda vs. Arizona. So, one can say that judges have an opportunity to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. Overall, the common law system implies that judges can modify existing criminal legislation. Yet, there are certain similarities. Both common law and civil code tradition guarantee the autonomy of judges. Moreover, they entitle a person to a trial by jury in many cases. This is one of the main similarities that can be singled out.
Apart from that, it is necessary to mention the Islamic criminal justice system. The main peculiarity of this model is that the criminal code of a state is derived from the religious text, namely the Quran. The main difference of this approach is that the trial procedures are not properly established. For instance, some schools of Islam enable a person to take a trial jury while others do not. This is one of the details which distinguish this model from civil code and common law traditions. Furthermore, the Islamic criminal justice system does not enable a judge to modify the existing statutes or rules derived from the Quran. This is one of the reasons why there are severe punishments for such behaviors as infidelity that is not even regulated by criminal justice in western countries. Moreover, this model does not guarantee the autonomy of a judge who often simply has to represent the will of the autocratic or totalitarian government. This is another aspect that should be singled out. Overall, the criminal justice system in Islamic law does not bear much resemblance to civil code or common law traditions.
Finally, it is necessary to speak about criminal justice in countries with socialist law traditions. To some degree, this model shares some common elements with civil code tradition. One should bear in mind that the statutes describing crimes and punishment are codified. Nevertheless, this is the only similarity of this model to other systems. One should bear in mind that very often, criminal judges have virtually no judicial independence. They can be forced to impose a sentence on a person, even if he/she is not guilty. In other words, they can merely express the will of the state, but not their judicial opinion. Furthermore, a person’s right to a jury is very limited. Finally, the principle of due process may not always be reinforced. Therefore, this approach to the criminal justice system has virtually no similarities with other legal traditions. However, very few countries rely on this model nowadays.