chapter  4
42 Pages

Procedure and Evidence

The difference between substantive and procedural law was rst introduced in Chapter 1. Substantive law was dened as that which is concerned with the content or substance of the law. Legal denitions of crimes are examples of the law’s substantive content. Procedural law was dened as governing the process of the law. Later chapters will deal with civil and criminal substantive law in greater detail. In this chapter we will elaborate on procedural law by examining it in both civil and criminal contexts. Before we begin the discussion of the actual civil procedure, it is important to review the reasons for our insistence on strict rules of procedure. In Chapter 1 we stated that most Americans want to prevent government from acting toward them in an arbitrary manner. We are so concerned with the problem of arbitrary government that we have adopted an elaborate system of criminal procedural safeguards to ensure that the innocent person is not wrongfully convicted of a crime. We even accept the inevitability that some guilty persons will go free if “the constable blunders.” That is the price we pay to protect our civil liberties.