Sanctions and remedies in legal actions are two legal terms that every paralegal should be aware of that correlate to the end results of legal judgments. Sanctions are usually the result of a criminal proceedings, though they can exist in some civil procedures.
Remedies are usually the result of decisions that are made in civil actions. In both cases they are commonly enacted when the action in question meets a positive outcome for the one undertaking it. This can mean a guilty verdict for a prosecutor, or a finding of favor on the behalf of a civil litigator.
Sanctions in legal terms refer to a judgment that implements a restriction on a party based on a violation or an injury to another party. In criminal cases, sanctions are specifically called criminal sanctions, and usually refer to the punishments levied against criminal violators.
A prison sentence given to a criminal found guilty would be a criminal sanction, as would be a severe fine given to the government. An implementation of a restraining order would also be considered a form of criminal sanction.
Sanctions can also happen in civil procedures, but they are usually not associated with positive outcomes of the case. Usually, they take the role of fines or decisions levied against a participant in the proceedings for misconduct. A fine or brief prison sentence for contempt of court would be an example of a civil sanction.
Throwing a case out entirely when it is determined to have been improperly made (through something like falsified evidence), would also be a civil sanction. It should be noted that many of these scenarios can also occur in criminal cases, as well.
Legal remedies occur exclusively in civil actions, and they represent the decisions, levied by the court, where one party has to “remedy” their legal violation to the other party. Remedies generally take three forms. The first is commonly damages, where one party makes a payment to the other due to the settlement of the court. Damages take two forms: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages compensate an injured party for the loss their injuries (which could by physical, financial, social, etc.) have caused them. Punitive damages are compensations where the injuring party has been determined to have acted with such negligence or malice that they deserve punishment in the form of making additional restitution.
In both cases, the restitution’s go to the injured party. Many civil cases often seek both compensatory and punitive damages, they do not require exclusive proceedings for each.
Another form of legal remedy is equitable remedy, which is usually rendered in cases that involve violation of a contract or legal binding agreement. When an equitable remedy is levied against a party, it essentially means that they legally required to fulfill the terms of their original agreement.
Equitable remedies may be accompanied by compensatory and/or punitive damages, depending on the nature of the case. The final form of remedy is declaratory relief, where the court makes a determination on a group or an individuals legal status based on a civil suit. Declaratory remedies, more commonly known as declaratory judgments, are not always decisions based on injury.
Usually, they serve the purpose of settling a legal dispute between parties, or determining legal status of an individual. Decisions in adoption proceedings or over child custody can be declaratory judgments, as can divorce decisions. Like other remedies, declaratory judgments can be coupled with other forms of remedy, depending on the nature of the proceedings.