Term Paper: Procedural and Substantive Law

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Term Paper: Procedural and Substantive Law

Procedural and Substantive Law

The difference between procedural law and substantive law is that procedural law provides the process (procedure) that a case will follow (whether it goes to trial or not). The procedural law determines how court proceeding concerning the enforcement of the substantive law will take place. On the contrary, the substantive law describes how the facts (substance) in the case will be handled, as well as how the facts in a crime will be determined. In essence, it deals with the subject of the matter (substance).

In simple terms, the criminal law refers to substantive facts and procedure used in the determination of the case. The substantive criminal law describes crimes and may also determine punishments (remedies). In contrast, the procedural law describes the process through which the criminal laws (substantive) are enforced. For instance, the law prohibiting murder constitutes a substantive criminal law. How government puts into effect this substantive law (through the gathering of evidence and prosecution) is considered an aspect of the procedural law. Although both are affected by opinions held by the Supreme Court and subject to constitutional interpretations, each serves a different function in the administration of criminal justice system.

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