What is Litigation in Criminology?

Litigation is a way to resolve disputes through the court system. Cases can be classified as either criminal or civil. Criminal cases allege that a statute (a written law) has been violated; civil cases are usually based on common law or judge-made law.

Columbia students learn from full-time and adjunct faculty who are active prosecutors, defense attorneys, and sitting state and federal judges. They collaborate on research to advance reforms in bail, policing, and sentencing practices.

What is Litigation?

Litigation is the process of resolving disputes through the court system. Disputes can be classified as civil or criminal, with the former dealing with issues such as breach of contract, trademark infringement, and personal injury claims, while the latter refers to crimes such as murder, robbery, and theft. Typically, criminal matters are dealt with by the police, while the courts handle civil cases.

A judicial decision that determines whether an accused person is guilty of the crime(s) they have been charged with. A judge or jury will make this determination after considering all of the evidence presented during a trial and hearing the arguments made by the defense and Crown counsel.

The act of intentionally restraining another person without the legal right to do so, often with the use of physical force or threats, can include false imprisonment. False imprisonment is a misdemeanor and can become a felony if the victim is detained for a significant period of time or moved a considerable distance from their home.

Evidence gathered by police investigating suspected criminal activity, such as fingerprints, blood tests, and DNA samples. Forensic scientists usually analyze these, which can be used to identify or locate the accused person.

A court-appointed representative can provide free legal advice and representation to an accused person at a preliminary inquiry or bail hearing but not at a trial. They also have the authority to challenge the admissibility of evidence.

The court that hears a case when it has been referred to the Magistrates’ Court or Court of Appeal. It is the highest court in England and Wales for prosecutions of serious offenses and may sentence those convicted after the Crown Prosecution Service has tried them.

An order directs an accused person not to have contact with a specific person or place, usually due to a sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking incident. They must obey the terms of a protection order, which can be enforced by police or the court and renewed, as necessary.

Criminal Litigation

The criminal justice system is an essential component of society. It is comprised of police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges who are all charged with protecting citizens’ safety and property, ensuring fair trials, and punishing the guilty. While these are vital tasks, there is a great deal of room for improvement in the system. Some of the challenges include addressing mass incarceration, reducing recidivism, and ensuring that incarcerated individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

Litigation in the context of criminal law is a crucial part of a democratic society, and it is often difficult to determine whether it is working effectively or not. Criminal lawyers must possess both hard and soft human skills, as they spend a lot of time interacting with their clients. This can be emotionally draining but rewarding because it gives the attorney a sense of purpose in their work.

In a criminal case, the government (represented by an attorney called a prosecutor) files a court case against a person, usually a suspect or accused murderer, saying that they broke the law. The burden of proof is higher in criminal cases than in civil cases. The plaintiff or state must prove that there is a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt.

Historically, the purpose of criminal sanctions was to make the offender give retribution for the harm caused and expiate their moral guilt. However, since the Enlightenment, more rationalistic and pragmatic views have dominated.

There are many different types of civil litigation, but the most common involves contracts, property, family, and torts. Contract law deals with issues like the exchange of money, services, and goods; property laws regulate the different forms of ownership for personal and real estate; and tort laws address injuries that can be caused by recklessness or negligence.

The most common types of civil litigation are landlord/tenant disputes, divorce proceedings, child custody issues, property disputes, and wrongful death lawsuits. The most serious cases are categorized as felony crimes, considered more severe than misdemeanors. These include cases such as burglary, robbery, and even murder.

Civil Litigation

The civil justice system is concerned with private disputes between individuals and organizations. These include resolving property and money issues, such as divorce, breach of contract, and debt collection. Criminal cases and civil cases are separate, but they do interact at times. For instance, a murder may lead to both a civil lawsuit and a criminal prosecution. It’s also possible that a case originally filed in criminal court will be transferred to civil court for a tort action (i.e., an action to recover damages caused by another’s negligence or wrongdoing).

As a criminology student, you might find yourself assigned to civil litigation. This might involve a dispute about property, such as an unpaid rent check or a disagreement over car ownership. You may also work on a civil suit brought against someone who committed a crime such as a robbery or burglary.

Unlike criminal law, which deals with actions that are considered harmful to society as a whole, civil law is concerned with private relationships between members of a particular community or social group. Many types of civil disputes include family law (divorce, custody, adoption), real estate law, and employment law. The most common types of crimes prosecuted in criminal court are felonies, which are classified as the most serious offenses. Felonies are punishable by prison, probation, or even death.

One of the main differences between civil and criminal justice is that the plaintiff in a civil action is typically an individual or entity who brings the lawsuit, whereas the defendant in a criminal case is always a person who has been accused of breaking a law. In addition, the law in a criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but the jury in a civil trial is only required to prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant is guilty.

The basis of legal action in a civil case is often an allegation that the defendant has violated a statute, whereas a criminal case can be based on common law or a judge’s opinion. In addition, a defendant in a criminal case is entitled to free representation by the government, while a defendant in a civil matter must pay for his or her own attorney.


Generally, court transcripts are made by professional verbatim reporters and then reviewed by the prosecution and defense attorneys. This helps to ensure that the transcriptions are accurate and complete. Changing a trial transcript without the reporter having access to the special equipment, keys, and software needed is very difficult. Also, a reporter would risk his reputation and career by deliberately altering a transcript. He would be in violation of judicial ethics and could face serious criminal charges.

However, police are often required to create their own transcripts of interviews with suspects if the recording is indistinct and cannot be understood by a professional transcriber. This is not because the law expects the police to be better transcribers but because they need to hear the information to work on the case. Forensic audio recordings are often indistinct because of the need for confidentiality. This makes it difficult to transcribe. However, the law recognizes that police may need to review their own transcripts and requires them to be checked by lawyers or judges.

This is why criminology researchers have been investigating the use of transcripts of conversations and recordings related to a criminal case. This research is important because it helps to understand the context of a crime and whether there was any misconduct or malfeasance. It also enables a deeper understanding of the legal process and how it works.

For example, this research has revealed that a transcript of an interrogation does not always match the actual video or audio recording of the interrogation. The reason for this discrepancy is because of the different levels of acoustic clarity, which can change the meaning of the words. Similarly, the differences in word usage between the transcript and video/audio can also cause problems.

This research has also highlighted issues of power and oppression that are evident in the ways that transcripts of interviews and recordings are used in the criminal justice system. This is especially true for young black men who are disproportionately arrested and killed by police. In addition, this research highlights the need for a deeper understanding of how the justice system operates, particularly from a socio-legal perspective.