7 Principles of Substantive Criminal Law
The seven principles of law form the basis upon which authorities exercise their mandate in establishing if one is against the law. However, it is worth noting that the seven principles are not consistent all over the world since each nations law is shaped by her own traditions and values. It is imperative to understand that the law basically reflects the indigenous values and traditions of a nation. The main purpose for the development of this paper is to establish and discuss two main differences in the definitions of crime and punishment for Saudi Arabia in relation to the United States. Additionally, the paper will discuss how the Saudi Arabian law is shaped by their culture and traditions.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that Saudi Arabia does not have a written constitution. This implies that there is no established judicial procedure, a penal code or the code of a criminal procedure. Saudi Arabia has given a lot of discretionary power to police and traditional judges in many instances to establish what amounts to a crime and the punishment and or sentences that accuses persons will serve (Donaghy & Atkinson, 2015). The lack of an established written law, Saudi Arabia’s definition of crime is thus subjective to the prevailing situation and the Islamic religious teaching about the crime as at the time the accused individual committed the mistake. Saudi Arabia has established courts that work under the Sharia law which is drawn from the Quran and the Sunnah which refers to the teachings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad for any cases before them.
On the contrary, the US has an established constitution which defines crime as an action that is prohibited by law. The US constitution outline several actions that makeup. For instance, engaging in crime, breaching contract terms, encroachment among others. In the US, there are established guidelines that spell out categories of crime, for example, crimes without victims in cases where the crime committed was a consensual act (Bowers, K., Johnson, & Tilley, 2016). Such a crime constitutes to a felony. Nonetheless, there is a similarity in the definition of punishment. In both countries, punishment refers to the pain or loss inflicted on an accused person who has pleaded guilty of the charges leveled against him or her. Besides the similarity in definition, in the US there are limitations on the punishment that is imposed. In Saudi Arabia, the punishment is always extremely severe, it may include beheading or being stoned to death.
The Saudi Arabian has been shaped by their religious traditions and values. Their administrative system is head by the king who acts like the final Supreme Court where people who feel dissatisfied with the judgment passed, they can directly or indirectly appeal to him for clemency. Although the king does not make decisions alone, he has a council of ministers and high ranking Muslim clergy that helps him in interpreting the Sharia law and Sunnah. On the other hand, the US law is influenced by its tradition and values for respect to humanity. The US prides herself in her traditional values that promote equality of humanity regardless of their ethnic background or social status (Boyle, 2017). The US does not have capital punishment as opposed to Saudi Arabia. Conclusively, the foundational traditions and values of a country play a significant role in the establishment of her laws.