Scottish courts and the law
Scottish courts and the law

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Scottish courts and the law

1 Categories of unlawful conduct

Courts determine cases that are brought before them. Generally the matters they deal with relate to some form of unlawful conduct (conduct that is contrary to or forbidden by law). That conduct will be classified as either civil or criminal. This classification will determine which branch of the legal system (justice system) a case is heard in.

Criminal activity is one form of unlawful conduct and can occur at personal, business, and executive levels. Criminal activities by individuals include burglary, assault, trafficking, theft, environmental damage and murder. Criminal activities by businesses include fraud, industrial espionage, pollution and tax evasion.

Civil disputes are also a form of unlawful conduct. These disputes can occur at a personal level, for instance, when neighbours argue over late-night noise or access to a shared driveway, when parties to a marriage or relationship decide to separate or when there is a dispute as to who should have day-to-day care of a child or relative. Civil disputes can also arise between individuals and businesses, for example, when customers refuse to pay their bills or companies fail to deliver a service to an agreed level. They can occur between businesses over the right to use a brand name or trademark. They may also occur between individuals and local councils over matters such as parking restrictions, traffic calming and planning permission.

Activity 1 A crime or civil wrong?

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