Comparison of the Traditional English Laws & European Community (EC) Laws on Jurisdictional Values

Introduction: This paper endeavours to compare the traditional English law and the European Community (EC) law on jurisdictional values, in that, it seeks to understand and elucidate why the former set of jurisdictional rules value flexibility and justice while the latter values certainty and predictability vis-à-vis the other. It shall analyse their historical or political background, their objectives and bases for assuming jurisdiction. It shall highlight the areas of differences between these jurisdictional regimes with the assistance of authorities like significant Court cases and books that have besides explaining or simplifying the law have also helped its evolution.

Definition: The word ‘Jurisdiction’ can have several meanings, but if understood in context with the Court of law it generally means the ability or authority of a particular Court to determine the issues before it on which a decision is sought. The rules on Jurisdiction play a pivotal role in determining the Court’s ability to address the issues in a given matter.

Jurisdictional issues become complex on the involvement of more than one Court having jurisdiction. This is certainly an area of concern not only for the international trade or business (who may be put in an invidious position where they are unaware of the extent of their liability) but also the sovereign states that seek to trade with each other without having to spoil their amicable relationship.

The English Law: The English legal system (having the common law at its core) has had and still continues to have a formidable place in expounding the law on several issues, mostly due to the availability of intellectuals and experts that have helped it in doing so.

Traditional English law (the common law) is basically the case laws that have over period of time become an authority with regard to the matter determined therein. Prior to entering the European Union (EU) by signing the document of accession in 1978, in the U.K, along with the judge made laws, even legislations played a significant role though it may have been more or less remedial in nature. However, it seems logical to allow the judge made law to test the legislation whenever it is so required by the change in circumstances which can be given effect to with relative ease as in comparison with the legislation process.

Before the advent of the Brussels/Lugano system and the Modified Regulation the traditional rules were applied in all cases, and it is their historical roots that make it appropriate to refer to them as the traditional English law/rules.

The jurisdiction of English courts is determined by different regimes:
1. The Brussels I Regulation (hereinafter the ‘Regulation’) (an amended version of the Brussels Convention but notwithstanding the amendments it applies a similar system of rules on jurisdiction);
2. The Modified Regulation which allocates jurisdiction within U.K under certain circumstances; and
3. The traditional English rules.

There are other sets of rules on jurisdiction like the EC/Denmark Agreement on jurisdiction and the those contained in the Lugano Convention; but their ambit is restricted in application to the cases where the defendant is domiciled in Denmark in case of the former and in an EFTA member state in case of the latter. There is also the Brussels Convention which applies to Denmark alone.

The EC law: In contrast to the traditional English law, the European Community seems to place more importance on the legislative work than the judge made laws. Apparently, for the EC, it is more important that the basic edifice of their legal system should be based in a codified structure which it defends on the grounds of ease of understanding amongst other reasons. Whereas, English laws seem to put more emphasis on having a common law or judge made law background. On this anvil, one begins to understand the differences that exist between the respective legal systems and their values, that is, a basic difference in the manner of approaching the issues even in cases where their objectives may be same.

The EC law on jurisdiction is more inclined towards the importance of predictability and certainty in the rules than towards matters like justice and flexibility as can be understood upon reading the 11th recital of the Regulation that states: ‘The rules of jurisdiction must be highly predictable and founded on the principle that jurisdiction must generally be based on defendants domicile and jurisdiction must always be available on this ground save in few defined situations…’

Whereas, the only mention of flexibility in the Regulation is contained in the 26th recital wherein it provides that the rules in the regulation may be flexible only to the extent of allowing specific procedural rules of member states.

According to the EC law on jurisdiction, it seems that this particular requirement of predictability is necessary for parties to a dispute to know exactly within which jurisdiction(s) they can sue and be sued. The EC law gives priority to the primary objective of harmonizing the laws on jurisdiction within the territory of its member states and therefore makes it mandatory to uphold the strict accuracy to its principle while giving secondary status to the objective of justice for the parties. The EC law as well as the traditional English law may very well have their own justifications and reasons for following a particular system; but it is submitted that this seems to be not only a matter of difference in manner of approach or attitude but also a matter of prioritization of the objectives by both the EC law and traditional English law on jurisdiction. The list of cases mentioned hereinafter for the benefit of elucidating the topic under discussion are, as shall be evident, decided under the Brussels Convention which can be used for interpreting the rules under the Regulation.

Comparison of EC Law v English Law:
1. Bases of Jurisdiction: The most significant difference that exists between the traditional English laws and the EC law on jurisdiction is the element of discretion that the respective body of law gives to the judges in determining the jurisdictional issues. Under the Regulation the assumption of jurisdiction is largely mandatory with the court not being free to decline jurisdiction; whereas under the English traditional rules the assumption of jurisdiction is discretionary.

The Regulation applies only to matters that are civil and commercial in nature and not to those that have been explicitly excluded from its application (for e.g. Cases pertaining to arbitration, succession, wills and bankruptcy have been excluded from the application of the Regulation). Whereas, the traditional English rules apply not only to cases that fall outside the scope of Art.1 of the Regulation but also to those that fall within its scope where the defendant is not domiciled in any member state and the jurisdiction is not allocated by any of the rules which apply, regardless of domicile.

A. In the traditional English rules the court has jurisdiction in three situations:
i. If the defendant is present in England (though the court may stay the proceedings on the ground that another court is a more appropriate forum). Jurisdiction under this situation is dependent on the presence of the defendant in the country whereby the claim form may be served to him.
ii. If the defendant submits to the court’s jurisdiction: wherein the defendant submits by not contesting jurisdiction or by arguing the case on its merits.
iii. If the claim falls within Practice Direction: (CPR PD 6B) (which is dependent on the court giving permission to serve process out of its jurisdiction) where the court considering England to be the most appropriate forum (despite of absence of reasons under i. or ii. on the basis of some connection between England and the defendant. There seems on a perusal of this provision, a functional similarity with Arts.5 & 6 of the Regulation.

B. Jurisdiction under the EC Law: Except for certain instances where the applicability of the EC law on jurisdiction does not depend on the defendants domicile (Art.22 Exclusive Jurisdiction and Art.23 Prorogation of Jurisdiction) the EC law on jurisdiction rests on the domicile of the defendant, and makes it mandatory for the court of a member state to determine the jurisdictional issues and other issues where the defendant is domiciled in its jurisdiction.

The Brussels Regulation does provide for instances where the defendant can be sued in another member state though he is not domiciled in that particular state; but these cases have been very explicitly outlined in the regulation leaving little or no scope for the exercise of discretion by the judge. However, Art.4 of the Regulation provides that a member state can (subject to the provisions in Articles 22 and 23 of the Regulation) exercise its traditional laws on jurisdiction in cases where the defendant is not domiciled in any of the member states. This provision while giving scope for the applicability of the traditional rules has at the same time also given rise to the idea that there is now only one source of jurisdictional rules, namely the Brussels Regulation.

C. Mandatory rules under EC law v Forum Conveniens:
Forum conveniens: upon bringing an action in England, the claimant has to prove that it is the forum conveniens, that is, the matter can be tired therein in the interest of justice; and the relevant factors in considering this are the same as under forum non conveniens. Forum conveniens is determined in two stages, namely:
i. Where in the 1st stage the claimant should show that England is an appropriate forum (considering, among other things, the nature of dispute, issues involved and in cases where relevant, the availability of witnesses.
ii. At the 2nd stage the claimant must establish that even if there is another forum, justice will not be done there, showing thereby that England is the more appropriate forum.

However, England may not be the appropriate forum where the claimant will only be deprived of some legitimate personal or juridical advantage like a higher compensation award.

Mandatory rules under EC law: Unlike the Traditional English rules, under the Regulation, if the court has jurisdiction under any of the provisions thereof (e.g. Arts.2 or 5) it cannot refuse jurisdiction on the grounds that some other court is best suited to determine the matter, showing the mandatory nature of the rules.

In case of lis pendens (Art.27) or proceedings in 2 or more states (Art.28) the Regulation gives precedence to the court first seized (Art.29 & 30) regardless of the actual jurisdiction being in the court 2nd seized.

These rules are mandatory in so far as they fall within the scope of Art.1 of the Regulation; no deviation thereof is permitted on the grounds of justice or convenience or any like reason. Paraphrasing the reasoning of the ECJ, the reason for such mandatory compliance is the promotion of legal certainty and predictability and the free flow of judgments amongst the member states on the basis of the codified rules in the Regulation which are not dependent on any judge’s discretion.

2. Forum non conveniens and lis pendens:

A. Forum non conveniens: Jurisdiction under the traditional rules also depends on whether the court shall decline jurisdiction or stay the proceedings. An English court shall in determining jurisdiction under its traditional rules try to ascertain which is the more appropriate forum and may even stay its proceedings in cases where it thinks that another forum is best suited for the case and in doing so it employs what may be called the basic test i.e. whether it is in the interest of the parties and would meet the interest of justice.

However, it was the Spiliada Case which promulgated another test i.e. ‘the two stage test’ for deciding the more appropriate forum for determining the case before the court. Where the court considers, in the 1st stage which is prima facie the most appropriate forum (burden being on the defendant) on the basis of connecting factors like: (territorial connection) place where the parties reside, the law applicable, the availability of witnesses (if any), balance of convenience (applied in Spiliada itself) and where proceedings between the same parties arising out of the same dispute are pending before a foreign court, show how long the trial has been in existence which would be a strong argument in favour of forum non conveniens where such case is on the verge of resolution one (unlike Art. 27 of the Brussels Regulation, the traditional rules do not endorse a simple ‘first come, first serve’ approach) and whereas in the 2nd stage (burden shifting on the claimant) upon considering the relevant connecting factors it thinks that the dispute is more closely connected with a foreign court.

B. Lis alibi pendens: The doctrine of Lis Pendens under Art.27 of the Brussels Regulation makes it mandatory for the court which is second seized (in proceedings having same cause of action and same parties and the dispute is before the courts of two or more member states) to stay its proceedings in favour of the court first seized until such time till the latter has not established its jurisdiction notwithstanding that the court second seized may actually have prima facie grounds for the exercise of its jurisdiction (For example: Arts. 22 and 23).

In contrast to the traditional English law, the Brussels Regulation gives absolutely no discretion to the judge to stay its own proceedings and grant jurisdiction in favour of another court on grounds of availability of a more appropriate forum. For instance, in the Owusu case wherein the European Court of Justice held that Brussels Convention precludes a Court of a contracting state from declining jurisdiction conferred on it by Art.2 on the ground that a court of a non-contracting state would be more appropriate forum for the trial of the action even if the jurisdiction of no other state is in issue or the proceedings have no connecting factors to any other contracting state. This regardless of the fact that the person putting up a plea of forum non conveniens is able to prove that he may not be able to secure justice in a foreign court or that he is in fact devoid of any access to effective justice.

The doctrine of Lis Pendens may seem like a simplified manner of approaching simultaneous proceedings in different courts vis-à-vis the doctrine of forum non conveniens which is dependent on the judges discretion; and also seems logical in cases where there could be a possibility of having two conflicting decisions as may happen under the traditional rules. At the same time it also seems arbitrary in that it makes mandatory for the court first seized to decide upon its jurisdiction before the court second seized, regardless of any pressing evidence adduced that places jurisdiction elsewhere.

The doctrine of lis pendens seeks to support the object of the drafters of the Brussels Regulation which is to promote confidence in the internal market, to reduce disparities between national laws on the jurisdictional front; and to strengthen the belief of persons domiciled in the member states under the present jurisdictional set-up, so as to safeguard their legal and large monetary interests and this in turn leads to the creation of legal certainty which view or observation is supported by several bearers of intellect in the concerned field of study.

Art. 27 of the Regulation requires the court second seized to stay its proceedings until the court first seized has established its jurisdiction. This provision seems to give ample room for parties to commercial matters in particular to take advantage of the loopholes available in the legal framework established under the Brussels Regulation which is best explained by explanation of the term ‘Italian Torpedo’.

Art. 27 while intending certainty has ended up providing an avenue for a rat race of sorts to the court house for the parties having a dispute in civil and commercial matters as well as those that wish to obstruct the course of justice. A party seeking to prolong the outcome of the dispute can approach the court of a member state which otherwise on the merits of the case may not have the requisite jurisdiction to hear it (e.g. Italy); and where the hearing and official determination of only the jurisdictional issues may possibly take long enough to frustrate the objectives of the party seeking an early resolution or remedy for the mischief of the other party.

In the Transporti Castelletti case where a Danish shipping company had to contest a jurisdictional issue before the Italian court for eight years when the receiver of the cargo under its Bill of Lading brought proceedings in Italy this notwithstanding the fact that the Bill of Lading which it delivered to an Argentinean shipper for voyage from Argentina to Italy had explicitly mentioned a ‘choice of court clause’ favouring England. This outcome does beg the question if there are any provisions that guarantee a fair and speedy delivery of justice. This requirement seems to have been overlooked even by the European Court of Justice, specially, with regard to the lack of efficiency which the Italian courts have shown in dispensing speedy remedies.

This issue was once again put to test in the Erich Gasser GmbH v MISAT Srl which was pertaining to patent rights and also involved a ‘choice of court agreement’ (Art.17 of the Brussels Convention) whereby the parties are free to choose which court shall have exclusive jurisdiction or if the parties require they may even make it a non-exclusive jurisdiction clause by stating the courts that shall have jurisdiction.

Gasser an Austrian firm and MISRAT an Italian Company had submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of an Austrian court by virtue of statement granting jurisdiction to the Austrian court contained in all invoices transacted under by the parties. But knowing that there was a possibility that Gasser may file a suit under the choice of court agreement, Misat with the intent to prolong the proceedings and the outcome of the case sought to invoke the jurisdiction of the Italian court and filed a suit there thereby making it the court first seized of the matter.

The case was pending before the Italian court for a period of eight years simply to have its jurisdiction established though it could be seen from the invoices transacted between the parties to the dispute that there was an explicit clause which was as per the provisions of Art.23 namely, i. the agreement was in writing; ii. in form with accords with practices which the parties have established between themselves; or iii. in international trade or commerce in a form which accords with a usage of which the parties are ought to have been aware and which is in widely known in such trade or commerce or regularly observed by the parties to the contract of the type involved in the particular trade or commerce.

3. Preclusion of jurisdiction under the English Law and EC law: Under the traditional English law, when the court finds itself to be the more appropriate forum it may grant an anti-suit injunction i.e. an injunction restraining a party from instituting or pursuing proceedings in another court, which is generally sought by defendants in foreign proceedings praying that the matter be decided in England where the grounds for injunction can include: unconscionable behavior, ends of justice and contractual reasons i.e. arbitration agreement.

In contrast to the English law under the Brussels Regulation the court 1st seized will determine its jurisdiction first and the courts 2nd seized shall (despite having jurisdiction over the matter on all relevant grounds) stay its own proceedings and not be permitted to issue any anti-suit injunction and will have to await the determination of jurisdiction by the court first seized. This despite the fact that the proceedings in the court first seized might be brought in bad fait and to frustrate the proceedings of the court second seized. (Based on the view of the ECJ that the states must trust each other, which seems like allowing the interest of justice in favour of an individual, as in Turner v Grovit to be overlain by the interest of the state)

Scope of jurisdiction in recognition and enforcement of judgments: A court cannot recognize or enforce a judgment without the requisite jurisdiction. The set of rules applicable would depend primarily on the country where the judgment was given. Recognition under the traditional law operates without impediments as regards judgments from many countries including many of the Middle Eastern countries, the non-common wealth countries including therein the US, Asia and Africa. Enforcement under the common law is dependent on bringing ordinary proceedings, whereas, the statutory regimes require specific procedures i.e. Registration.

In contrast to the English law, under the EC law on recognition and enforcement contained in Chapter III of the Regulation, jurisdiction is available only in civil and commercial matters; where the judgment is given by the court of a member state, the EC law will only give recognition and enforce those judgments that are given under the Regulation. Where unlike the common law there is no special procedure for recognition and enforcement; yet the number of defenses, are limited.

Critical Analysis: One critical aspect in favour of forum non conveniens is the noble and paramount objective namely, the interest of justice, which would have rightly served the need of cases like Gasser and Turner v Grovit had the objective of the EC law been so. In that, the requirement of maintaining comity amongst nations is given preference over doing justice to the parties, a codified structure and interpretation thereof seems to overrule the requirement of practicality and logic.

Due to cases like Gasser, there is a possibility that the reasoning of the European Court of Justice may be able to change the meaning behind the maxim pacta sunt servanda giving rise to instances where the terms contained in the express contracts like, jurisdiction agreement may be ignored or subverted in pursuance of sinister objectives like causing delays; frustration of commercial enterprise and cause heavy losses.

There are certain provisions in the Regulation (for instance Art.22 (4)) that run contrary to the objective of the EC law as stated hereinbefore, while leaving many questions unanswered. It may also be argued that the definition of lis pendens in Art.27 is quite technical and mechanical, being hinged on the 1st seized rule implying a first come first serve basis of justice, whereas in the traditional English laws there is no requirement of a definition; can deal with most problems with the help of discretionary rules. But matters like anti-suit injunctions under the traditional rules run contrary to modern objectives like comity of nations

The Regulation excoriates the application of the domestic laws on jurisdiction by member states under circumstances where the Regulation is applicable. Though the intention is to help parties to civil and commercial matters discern their rights and liabilities lie; but in doing so the EC law has in fact taken away much of the English Court’s discretionary power, as is evident from the outcome of the Owusu case.

Conclusion: It is submitted that it is not only the difference of attitudes or manner of approach that differentiates the traditional English law and the EC law on jurisdiction; but also the nature of these rules which as regards the EC law on jurisdiction is mandatory unlike- the traditional English law which is discretionary.

There have been instances wherein, on the basis of the traditional rules on jurisdiction, the English Courts have assumed jurisdiction in cases where it was clearly not the most appropriate court as per its two stage test promulgated in the Spiliada case; yet for the purpose of doing justice to the parties therein it has even given legal aid to the South African citizens on the English tax payers account, which in itself goes to show the extent to which the English court can be flexible.

The objective of the traditional rules is clear i.e. achieving justice for the parties to a dispute regardless of any set parameters; but this very factor makes a party to a commercial dispute uncertain of the jurisdictions it may or may not get sued in, which contingency the Regulation endeavours to clarify for the purpose of achieving its objective of building confidence in the European commercial market.

In light of the foregoing observations, it is submitted, that the traditional English laws do in fact prefer or value flexibility and justice over certainty and predictability, whilst the EC law on jurisdiction prefers or values certainty and predictability over flexibility and justice to the parties which is predominantly due to the inclination it has towards their respective objectives which mandates the said preference or prioritization.

The Law

All congressmen should be required to read “The Law,” by Frederic Bastiat. This 70-page book explains, like no other, what the role of the law and government should be. Having been written about one hundred and fifty years ago, it is amazing how relevant this book is today.

Today, the law has many purposes. If we think something is wrong or not as it should be, we are very quick to suggest a law that will fix the problem. We use the law for things for which it was not intended.

The law, Bastiat explains, is a collective force made up of individuals. Because of this, it should not be allowed to do what an individual himself should not be allowed to do. Legal Plunder, as Bastiat calls it, is an example of something that would be illegal for an individual to do, but it is considered legal when done by the government. This is a great example of how the law has been corrupted and it is being used to try to make everything that we might consider wrong, right. What is legal plunder? Here’s a great quote by Bastiat:

“…how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

So what should The Law be allowed to do? It should be allowed to do only what an individual should be allowed to do. For example, everyone would agree that an individual should be allowed to defend himself and his property. In this case, you can think of the collective force that is the government, as a group of individuals who are helping you defend yourself against someone trying to take your life or property. There is nothing wrong with a group of individuals helping you defend yourself, but there is something wrong with a group of people robbing someone, just as it is wrong for an individual to rob someone. Once one starts viewing the government as a collective force made up of individuals, it is easy to realize that we have made certain crimes legal, as long as they are committed by the collective force that is the government. The law’s purpose should be to protect the natural rights of individuals. These natural rights are the right to life, liberty, and property; nothing more.

One very important point that Bastiat makes in his book is that the law is supposed to play a negative role, not a positive one. What he means by this is that so often politicians use the law for what they consider to be justice, but justice cannot be created. Justice is only present in the absence of injustice. For example, The law should be used to protect me from the injustice of having my property taken away from me by someone else. This is an example of how the law makes sure justice reigns; by making sure the injustice of having my property stolen, doesn’t take place. On the other hand, when politicians try to help those less fortunate by taking money from others, they are trying to create what they think is justice, when in reality they are violating the natural rights of the people they are taking the money from, and are thus creating an injustice, which is the opposite of what the law should do. If I cannot get five of my friends to legally rob someone, why is the government allowed to do it for me?

The law’s role should be limited to one of protector; protector of our natural rights. If all Americans understood this, we would be well on our way to solving our problems, since most of our problems originate from the law being used for the wrong purpose. So how can we fix this corruption of the law? Quite simply. Make the same rules that apply to individuals, apply to the government.

Find Personal Freedom in the Principles of Invisible Justice

The heart of our inner work and its purpose is to bring about, within each of us, ever-higher states of Freedom. If we were able to honestly address our own captive state (that is, how we continue to do those things we don’t want to do, and wouldn’t do, if we only had a conscious choice before these decisions were made), a New Need would awaken within us. We would realize, unalterably, the need to become fully aware of the extent of our present captivity. This view is the exact opposite of our present one.

If we will be honest about ourselves, we’ll admit that we would rather not be aware of our captive condition than acknowledge it. Dreams are sweeter than reality to the sleeping human being – which is why we must work to awaken, for the spiritually sleeping self is always (eventually) awakened to the nightmare of its complicity in its own captivity. We all know this is true; experience confirms it.

There are certain Truths, Perfect Principles, that once recognized as being already in place, will allow you to exercise your right to realize your God-Given Freedom. That’s correct. Freedom is not a creation of ours. It is not attained by making life “line up” with our wishes. It is a System already in place, needing only our awareness of it to enter it. As one example, how many of us spend our precious time and energy fuming over what others may have done to us? Unseen in the steam of our heated emotions and churning thoughts is the one inescapable fact that we are the captive of anyone we wish to punish. And the more we would punish this person, the less freedom we have to be at peace with ourselves. Here’s the lesson of Invisible Justice: We need never concern ourselves with how wrongdoers will “get theirs.” Any person who does wrong to another is already punished. More correctly stated: Any person who does an injustice is set up, instantly, to be corrected by the Laws governing such trespasses. An invisible Justice System already exists. That we need never judge anyone is a great freedom known by the few.

Here are the facts about this Great Justice System. Use them wisely: All around and within us live invisible and undeniably powerful verdicts. Think of them as Timeless Rulings. These forces of immediate righteousness circulate just outside the self-created realms (and reach) of all self-explanations or calculations born to somehow justify our unconscious self-interests.

The sole reason we don’t see or understand the existence of this swift Justice already upon us – or find solace in its perpetual sovereignty – is because most of us don’t realize that any other order of reality exists outside of the one we behold through our small self-serving senses. For instance, we have yet to see the following Truths and their inherent Justice: All pretence punishes the pretender. The smallest act of cunning on our part always starts with secret self-conflict. Any hatred embraced festers the heart of the one holding this sickness. The seed of any greed always lies within some self-compromising fear, so that nothing can be won by its actions that doesn’t frighten us further.

Conversely, we have yet to realize these next Truths that are also part of this same system of Perfect Justice: Innocence is unshakable personal peace (a Peace that is the backbone of the freedom we seek). Inner silence is safety beyond the power of any painful thought to breach. The love of Good transforms all things bitter into something better. Self-correction is instant self-elevation.

All of these Truths, in themselves, reveal one additional great judgment in this System of Invisible Justice: Our satisfaction with the limitations of our sensual life – with being the judge of self and others – with longing only to escape our worries instead of winning that Life above their world – denies us access to the Kingdoms above us and their true Freedom.

Last, and most important: these facts as presented – along with their invisible findings – prove to us in their combined might the existence of a Great Universal Power already in charge of meting out Justice. Within this realization comes relief from much of our collective misery as it concerns trying to manipulate the lives of others. We are able to see that to be wrongly concerned with trying to “fix” the bad behavior of someone else only invites some other invisible wrong into our life. Leave these people alone! Their nature is their punishment. Stay awake and out of their ache. Watch how freedom comes to you as you stop locking yourself up with wasted judgments and their attendant, never-ending worries.

Understanding this law of Invisible Justice is an example of how Higher realization leads to real freedom. It is critical that you to set your spiritual Aim for Self-Freedom over and over each day. Then, start over as though a whole New Wind were at your back. Do this and this New Wind will be there to help you along.

More than anything else, try to remember each morning – before the winds of this world pick you up and carry you off – that you want to be more awake to yourself than you were the day before; that you want to have more choices today – in who you are and what you embrace – than you did yesterday. This wish, and the work to fulfill it, will increase your awareness that presently you do NOT have real choice.

Growing inwardly requires us to willingly enter into a new kind of struggle wherein we begin to become conscious of our own divided nature. This new and heightened consciousness of our present division – in our longings and the relationships they engender – produces a new order of self-awareness. From this awakened awareness, and in it, we can begin to grow.

Remember: What you want from this life you will eventually receive, so be wise: Want Truth, Freedom, and Light. Win these things and you have won it All.

Criminal Justice Careers And Salaries Despite Budget Cuts?

Many people are concerned that those well paying and readily available law enforcement careers are disappearing because of many deep and necessary budget cuts which are sweeping the country. If you are wondering what kinds of criminal justice careers and salaries are out there, then have no fear because law enforcement as an industry is booming and has never been more lucrative. This is great news for those who love the field of criminal justice and want to make a difference through an exciting and hopefully life long career.

Whether you want to be a DNA analyst or a beat cop, you can find the right job for you and follow your dreams by going to school and earning a degree. Most places require at least a two tear degree, while many of the better paying agencies are looking for four years of college before applicants will even be considered. This gives you plenty of time to decide where in law enforcement you think you will fit best, and it also gives you time to learn basic skills which will help anyone who will end up making a career in this exciting and growing field.

So, despite budget cuts and layoffs at various municipal agencies, there are plenty of other criminal justice careers and salaries that you can enjoy and settle into. From working in investigations to becoming a star prosecutor, the sky is the limit in terms of the choices you have, and usually by the second year of college, most students have a pretty solid idea of where they want to direct their energy and interests. In the meantime, having exposure and courses that will help you to become familiar with many of the criminal justice careers and salaries that are available now and in the future is beneficial and is one of the reasons many agencies are now requiring this foundation for most people entering the field.

You can find your place in the world of criminal justice. Careers and salaries will vary from location to location as well as what programs a particular school offers. The best advice is to talk to those already active in the profession as well as some educational counselors to really be able to determine what your options are. In the end, you can have a great and satisfying career by choosing this route, and you can do virtually anything you want as you discover the variety and challenging options that you will encounter along the way. Your greatest asset at this point is knowledge and research, and the more you look into the various possibilities, the more opportunities you will have to choose from.

Things To Do With Your Criminal Justice Degree

A lot of students considering a civil service career think that a criminal justice degree is only good for being a law enforcement officer or, in combination with a legal degree, a criminal lawyer. Here are a whole range of criminal justice career choices that many degree-holders overlook, but are well worth consideration:

Social Work/ Personal Cases

These may include child support and child protective services, missing persons, domestic violence and spousal or elderly abuse. Domestic legal social work is often identified as having extreme pros and cons to it. On the one hand, you’re working to make everyone’s home life better. On the other, the work can be stressful when confronting a perpetrator or heart-wrenching when confronting a victim. Social workers will work with law enforcement officers to assess a domestic situation, monitor a case to ensure that the desires of the court are carried out, and make further recommendations to the court for the disposal of cases.

Criminal Investigators and Special Agents

Also known as “the Feds”. Working in federal investigations is a whole new ball game compared to municipal police work. As for special agents, these are not limited to the FBI; nearly every federal agency has some type of special agent. These include the Department of Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the National Park Service. Special agent work is a way to combine a criminal justice career with many other fields of government work and specialty interests.

Immigration and Customs Inspectors

These are the public servants who control access of persons and property into and out of the United States. Quite a high-profile job lately, with today’s concerns over terrorism. A challenging job, with being able to speak multiple languages fluently a big plus (in some cases a requirement). Sometimes your biggest concern will not be stopping a terrorist, but preventing a confused, but innocent person from being mistaken for one! In addition, you maybe on the spot to check or clear visiting diplomats and dignitaries from other lands.

Police Detectives

This is usually an after-the-fact officer. The law enforcement officer does the arresting; you just solve the crimes. Be aware that it’s hardly the glamorous job Hollywood movies would have you believe; your reality will be day-to-day mundane tasks such as collecting forensic evidence, checking background records, interviewing witnesses, and testifying in court. Police detectives are of course categorized into many department specialties. Robbery and burglary alone accounts for a very large portion of police detective work.

Correctional Officers and Jailers

Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? You’ll be responsible for the care, custody, and control of inmates, whether they have been arrested and are awaiting trial or have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in jail. A prison or jail is a controlled environment which in many ways is a microcosm of a society, with it’s own challenges to face. While the controlled environment of the jail or prison will seem a more secure niche, unexpected surprises can develop – particularly in the intake zone. And when things get out of hand in a prison, they tend to escalate quickly.

Homeland Security

Responsible to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism. Currently a high-profile job to say the least, and not for the faint of heart, but you can count on lots of federal support during this time of national crisis. You’ll be working with other federal agencies as well, such as the FBI and CIA, military counter-intelligence, and the NSA. The specialties with the Department of Homeland Security include collecting and sorting data on potential threats, surveillance, investigation, and assessing and alerting other agencies to potential threats.

Private Detective/ Investigator

The number-one most mythologized profession, misrepresented in movies and television about equally with spies. As opposed to the high drama and dangerous intrigue portrayed in fiction, your typical jobs as a private investigator might include tracking cheating spouses, gathering evidence for private attorneys in civil cases, or investigating spurious claims for an insurance company. Leave your Magnum, your Porche, and your nubile blond mistresses home – but always carry a notepad and pen.

Criminal Intelligence

Well away from any street work, the criminal intelligence agent works behind the scenes, gathering data on gang members, fugitives, and organized crime and logging it into databases where it will be accessible to officers and detectives in the field. This is often an under-recognized profession but obviously essential; when the officer types a gang member’s name into the computer in his patrol car and discovers the identities of the other five members of that gang, a criminal intelligence worker at the base made this possible.

Computer Crime

Not a specific specialty just yet, but dealing with the cyber-side of criminal justice is one of the most in-demand fields as the number of computers in society grows each year. You’ll of course need to combine your criminal justice degree with a computer science degree. Crimes committed through or with a computer may include fraud, offensive content, harassment and hate groups, drug trafficking, and cyberterrorism. If you imagined computer viruses or email scams were perpetrated by individual kids, think again: Computer fraud and data theft is actually an international organized crime operation and a multi-billion dollar per year industry! Police departments also need forensic data analysts on hand to find and recover evidence which may be on a suspect’s computer and may have been encrypted or deleted. In the future, a special department may be created within the criminal justice system to deal with this special category, as currently many police departments have to outsource their computer-related work.

This list hardly scratches the surface of every career opportunity available in the criminal justice field, but should provide a broad sample of what’s out there. Far from regular street police work, there are career opportunities to satisfy every interest and skill set.