Criminal

It is up to each separate contracting State to lay down penalties within their own legal framework for non-compliance with the provisions of the Convention. Article 4 (4) generally obliges contracting States to apply adequate penalties in severe enough form to be an active discouragement to violators of the terms of the Convention. In English law this is usually done by the imposition of criminal sanctions. Basically, criminal sanctions are imposed to control the relationship of the individual with the State. This is usually in connection with behaviour which is considered to be detrimental to the State and the safety and well-being of other members of the community. For breaches of such rules the individual will be automatically dealt with by the State by way of a criminal prosecution. The sanctions imposed and terminology used in criminal cases are quite different from those used in civil cases. In civil cases we tend to speak of the wrongdoer as being liable. In criminal situations the wrongdoer is known as being guilty. The basic aim of sanctions imposed for civil liability is to compensate the injured party. One of the predominant aims in respect of criminal liability is to punish the wrongdoer. This can be for the purpose of reprimanding the wrongdoer, or to act as a deterrent to other potential wrongdoers or to suggest some sort of retribution to society. The student should be aware of the difference between civil and criminal liability although, of course, criminal law is beyond the scope of this course. Section 20 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1979 imposes a fine and/or imprisonment for a breach of the Convention.