International Law Comparison


Short Paper:International Law Comparison

Compare and contrast the justice system of a foreign country with that of the United States.Be sure to address three of the following issues in your essay:

Substantive Law

Procedural Law

Judicial Review

Policing Systems

International Police Cooperation


International Law Comparison

The justice system is a set of institutions, agencies, and process that have been established by the government to control crime and impose penalties on persons violating the laws. Justice systems vary across the many jurisdictions in the world; this paper is a critical analysis and comparison of the judicial organization of America against another jurisdiction with an effective legal system. The parameters around which the comparison will be centered constitute factors like substantive and procedural law, judicial review, policing systems and international police corporation. Norway will be the jurisdiction in comparison, the purpose of the benchmarks provided in this comparison is to not to serve as policy but to offer a little guidance on the concept of the justice system, how it operates and its’ procedures. It serves as a practical framework, which aims to develop a good comprehension and understanding of judicial systems and provide scholars and students alike with a structure around which they can evaluate a system’s efficiency and conduct research.

A look at the concepts and science behind the substantive law as a significant practical factor in the operationalization of courts requires a shift of accent from the mere study of the legal doctrine to the study of an operation of an institution. Substantive law and procedural law work in tandem with each other to ensure that in all civil and criminal cases instated in courts, appropriate rules are applied, and proper procedures followed to bring the case to trial. Substantive laws are the written statutory rules, which are passed by the legislature; the laws have defined crimes, set punishments and defined our rights and responsibilities as citizens. Elements of substantive law exist in both civil and criminal law. Substantive law is used in determining whether a crime or tort has been committed. It defines the charge as well as whether the evidence present can sustain the charge for a successful prosecution. The substance of charges or the elements of a crime or tort must be evaluated carefully to determine if a crime or tort exists, stated; this effectively means that a set facts should be proven first before a defendant is convicted (Arnold, 2016). The procedural law governs the mechanics of how a legal case flows including the steps of processing a case; it adheres to due process, a right granted by the 14th Amendment. In a murder charge, substantive law proves that a person had men’s Rea and Actus rea just as the arrest of the suspect for trial is also within the rights of the police. Due process dictates that the individual has to be aware of all the charges against him within 72 hours of his arrest (Cornell University Law School, n.d.)

Related: Dealing with an Economic Downtown

In the United States, a defense for criminal intent is the plea of insanity, where an offender can plead to having been insane when he perpetrated the offense, the application of insanity as a defense in the United States is synonymous and widely associated with United States v. Hinckley, (1982). The defendant had attempted to assassinate president Ronal Regan but failed in his attempts and wounded a couple of people. At trial, defendant produced evidence in that point to the fact he was not guilty due to insanity. The jury found him not guilty since he lacked the men’s rea necessary for committing the crime. It must be noted that in the U.S, jurors shy away from finding persons with mental deficiency not guilty, they are punished for their crimes and receive medical care while serving their sentences, however much they have been rehabilitated they will never get out of jail.

The current Norwegian insanity defense, which was introduced by 1902, requires no nexus between insanity and the criminal offense, the Breivik trial is a classical case example where the suspect’s sanity at the time of the murder was put into test (Melle, 2013). Psychiatric evaluations conducted on the offender produced different results, the first one concluding results similar with a ‘psychotic’ as read with the Penal Code. The second reported results those were incompatible with the legal concept of psychotic. Norwegian laws dictate that a defendant should be given accorded reason of doubt as to whether insanity as a defense can be applicable. Nobel Laureate in Literature, Knut Hamsun was accused of collaborating with the Nazi during the German occupation of Norway. Because of his advanced age and hearing impairment, he was wrongly suspected to be of unsound mind following an investigation by professional psychiatrists. The report concluded that he was suffering from a severe form of mental disability. The court opted to levy a fine instead of convicting him. Had the Breivik case been tried in U.S., the chances of the defendant raising a guilty plea are greatly significantly reduced to almost nil. This is primarily due to the reason that most, if not all, apply the M’Naghten rule and require that at least some level of mental impairment which in reality does not exist (FindLaw, n.d.)

Related:  The Bill of Rights

In the modern U.S., the president and Congress have some degree of control over the judiciary with power to appoint and confirm judges and justices. Congress can circumvent a court ruling by passing a slightly different law than that which had been previously rendered unconstitutional. The federal courts have a very significant power, which is judicial review, they have the power to interpret the constitution and shape public policy. Judicial review is the best-known power of the Supreme Court that was first decided in the case of Marbury v. Madison (1803). It is the power of the court to declare an act of Congress or the Executive as unconstitutional. The case played an important role in establishing the Supreme Court as a separate branch of the government at par with congress and executive. In Norway, the concept that the law shall functions to regulate the parliamentary as well as executive powers has been in existence for  a long period. However, the constitution does not directly state this. The duty the court plays to safeguard the rights of citizens and minorities whose views do not prevail in the political field is what is referred to as judicial review. Norway’s constitution that dates back to 1814 does not explicitly mention judicial review as compared to other European countries, the power to review arose from the Supreme Courts exercise of its mandate. Two distinct, interrelated stages were involved in this evolution; the first stage was the supreme court’s adoption of the constitution as its instrument for true legal norms. In Norway, judicial review was developed in the early 19th century and was based on the U.S. model of judicial review. In the 20th century, this concept was revisited and a number of changes were made, mainly the insertion of the position principle by Norway (Smith, 2000).

Policing in America and Norway are two things that sharply vary. In America, since the police killed the first three victims in 2015, another 687 persons have lost their lives at the hands of the police making an average of three killings daily. The Norwegian police have not killed anyone since 2006 making it only a single police fatality issue. Among the 34 members of the Economic Co-operation and Development, Norway stands out from the rest as one of four other countries that employ unarmed police. Notwithstanding, they have access to firearms that always remain locked in patrol cars and are restricted to using the same on permission from a higher authority. The country enjoys one of the lowest prison population with less than 4000 out of its citizen population of 5, 000,000 in jail, and the recidivism rates are also low compared. The U.S. has one of the largest prison population in the world with approximately one out of every 100 adults being behind prison bars; the recidivism rates here are as high as 76 percent (Nevins, 2015).

The comparison between the international police corporation between American cops and the Norwegian cops is a seemingly stunning case; American cops train for nine weeks while their Norwegian counterparts train for three years. The corporation in international policing as witnessed in America has reached heights never before established as the European Union envisions corporation with minimal limits. The United States corporation level cannot be questioned, as they are also active participants in the collaborative efforts aimed at intelligence gathering, evidence gathering and cooperation in information and evidence gathering (Klosek, 1999).


(n.d.). 14th Amendment. U.S. Constitution.Retrieved from:   

(n.d.). Marbury v. Madison. The Court and Democracy. Retrieved from:

Arnold, W. T. (2016). The Role of Substantive Law and Procedure in the Legal Process. Retrieved          from:    s

Klosek, J. (1999). The Development of International Police Cooperation within the EU and Between the EU and Third Party States: A Discussion of the Legal Bases of Such Cooperation and the Problems and Promises Resulting Thereof. Retrieved from:

Melle, Ingrid. (2013). The Breivik case and what psychiatrists can learn from it. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Nevins, S. (2015). What Norway Is Getting Right About Policing That American Cops Just Can’t Figure Out. Retrieved from:

Smith, C. (January 01, 2000). Judicial review of parliamentary legislation: Norway as a European pioneer. Public Law, 595-606.


Hypothesis on Criminal Justice Practitioners