Could you tell me what is the difference between "penal law" and "criminal law"? Unfortunately, I can't find it in my dectionary.
Thank you.
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Aren't they both the same thing?
It is very likely, but then in my book "International Legal English" in the same chapter I have these two terms, that's why I thought they are a bit different Emotion: rolleyes .
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I find that study, or reference books, often use differenent terms meaning the same thing. I imagine that if there is a distinction, then criminal law will relate to what constitutes a crime, and penal law relates to the punishment for a crime.

I'm really not sure. Perhaps I should leave it to our American friends to explain.
The're synonyms, except for one case:
penal law

Function: noun

1 a : a law imposing a penalty (as of fine, imprisonment, loss of civil rights) on persons who do or forbear a certain act or acts b : the body of such laws : CRIMINAL LAW


penal statute

Function: noun

1 : PENAL LAW 1 a

2 : a statute that provides for the use of the state or a private person wronged a forfeiture of penalty and not compensatory damages against the wrongdoer committing an offense against the state by violating the provisions of the statute and that is distinguished from a statute awarding a civil remedy for compensatory damages against a wrongdoer in favor of the person wronged

Thank you a lot, Tidus. I think you are right, your explanation fits the context.
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You're welcome!
Marius, thanks agains. I am liking your dictionary more and more. I think I will subscribe to it Emotion: smile .
Appears like penal law is more about punishment and penalty while criminal law is more about the crime, its cause and consequences, though there is no exact source to clearly define the distinction.

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