Civil and Criminal Law


Civics The Judicial Branch: Justice and the Law Civil and Criminal Law
Students learn about different types of civil law disputes and the procedures for settling a civil claim. Then, students explore the steps in criminal law proceedings and identify the differences between misdemeanors and felonies. Next, students learn about the role of juries and explain the presumption of innocence. Finally, students participate in a mock civil trial.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
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Here are the teacher pack items for Civil and Criminal Law:

Preview - Scene 1
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Overview

In this experience, students learn about different types of civil law disputes and the procedures for settling a civil claim. Then, students explore the steps in criminal law proceedings and identify the differences between misdemeanors and felonies. Next, students learn about the role of juries and explain the presumption of innocence. Finally, students participate in a mock civil trial.

Students work in small groups in Scene 5 for the mock trial. Each small group should have at least five or six members.

You may choose to have students take the quiz in Scene 6 first, and use an additional class period to conduct the mock trial in Scene 5.

Objectives

  • Describe civil law and procedures for civil lawsuits.
  • Describe different types of crimes and procedures for criminal cases.
  • Participate in a mock trial.




In a previous experience, you learned that there are different types of laws: constitutional law, civil law, criminal law, and military law. In this experience, you will take a closer look at civil and criminal law.

Objectives

  • Describe civil law and procedures for civil lawsuits.
  • Describe different types of crimes and procedures for criminal cases.
  • Participate in a mock trial. 
Your mother has asked you to run to the grocery store to pick up some popcorn for a home movie night. As you walk quickly through the store aisles, you slip on a wet floor and fall and twist your ankle. Ouch! As the manager races over to check if you are okay, you see a grocery store employee standing nearby, pushing a mop. In your hurry to grab the popcorn you hadn’t seen him, and no sign was posted warning you about the wet floor.


Who do you think is responsible for your fall?

A) It’s my fault; I was in a rush and not paying attention.
B) The storeowner is at fault; he is the one who is in charge.
C) The worker who was mopping the floor is at fault; he should have put up a sign.
D) It’s not anyone’s fault; accidents happen.

Ask for student volunteers to explain why they chose their response.


Believe it or not, this type of accident happens frequently, and the people involved often end up in court to decide who is at fault. This is an example of a civil law dispute, or a case between people or businesses where one person is harmed by the actions of another.


Using the example above and your own background knowledge, write a definition of civil law.

Post your answer

Use student responses to judge prior knowledge. The following scene goes into depth, so you do not need to correct misconceptions at this point.

Civil law refers to laws that regulate the relationships and agreements between people and businesses. Civil laws can be about birth, marriage, divorce, contracts, or death. If someone violates a civil law, another person can file a lawsuit against them.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in The Judicial Branch: Justice and the Law Unit.
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