Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law (With Table)

Civil Law vs Criminal Law

There is a very high chance that on watching shows or movies, you have got to hear about the civil and criminal laws. Many people wonder what’s the difference between these two is.

The main difference between Civil Law and Criminal Law is that civil law includes cases that are nothing but some sort of quarrel between two parties.

However, criminal law comprises much more severe cases like theft, assault, murder, etc.

Civil law has to deal with the cases in which one entity puts charges against another.

The party which is pressing the charges is known as the plaintiff, whereas the party against whom the accusations have been made is called the defendant.

In the case of criminal law, one person can’t accuse another person of wrongdoing. A victim can only file a report here.

The rest is on the government officials to put the accused on trial.

The conduct in the case of criminal cases is considered to be very serious and involves intent or motive behind the crime.

However, civil cases are generally a result of the negligence of people.


 

Comparison Table Between Civil Law and Criminal Law (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonCivil LawCriminal Law
DefinitionCivil law has to deal with the cases of disputes between two parties. In the end, the compensation, decided by the court, is awarded to the victim.Serious crimes, including murder, robbery, etc. comes under criminal law. It also has to deal with the legal action that has to be taken for a particular crime or wrongdoing.
Cases ExamplesDisputes regarding tenant, divorce, custody of child, property issues, etc.Murder, assault, theft, trafficking, etc.
PunishmentThe reimbursement has to be made as decided by the judiciary.Incarceration and fines are the general ways of punishment here. In some cases, even a death penalty is also considered by the judiciary.
Filing of the CaseThe case gets filed by one of the parties (plaintiff).In criminal law, the government is responsible for filing the charges.
AppealAn appeal can be made by either of the parties.In this case, only the defendant can make an appeal.

 

What is Civil Law?

Civil law has to deal with the cases in which an individual or a corporation has to go through some kind of injury.

Some of the examples of civil law are tenant disputes, contract breach, damage of property, child custody, divorce, etc.

In the case of civil law, the person who had to suffer the damage brings the case to the court.

This particular party or person is referred to as the plaintiff, whereas the party against whom the case has been brought up is known as the defendant.

In civil law, the victim has to be reimbursed by the defendant on the decision of the court.

The burden of proof, in civil law, is on the plaintiff to prove its point.

Then, the defendant is given a chance to have their say against the pieces of evidence provided by the plaintiff.

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If more than 50% of the pieces of evidence are against the defendant, then the plaintiff wins the case. In such a situation, reimbursement has to be made by the wrongdoer to the plaintiff.

Branches of Civil Law
Branches of Civil Law
 

What is Criminal Law?

Criminal law deals with criminal offenses and legal actions that have to be taken in correspond to the offense.

The nature of the crimes is quite severe in the case of criminal law. Some of the crimes include murder, robbery, theft, assault, trafficking, etc.

In the case of criminal law, the case can’t be brought up by the victim in front of the court.

A victim can only report the wrongdoing that has happened to him or her. All the significant actions are taken by government officials.

The punishment generally includes incarceration and fines imposed by the court. In rare cases and depending on the crime’s nature, a death penalty can also be considered by the jury.

In criminal law, to prove a defendant guilty, a prosecutor needs at least 99% of the proofs against the accused.

A defendant can’t be called guilty, in the case of criminal law, without a bare minimum of 99% proofs.

Branches in Criminal Law
Branches in Criminal Law

Main Differences Between Civil Law and Criminal Law

  1. Civil law is the body of law that has to deal with the cases in which there is a dispute going on between two different entities.
    Criminal law deals with offenses such as murder, theft, etc. and takes corresponding legal actions to the wrongdoing.
  2. In civil law, reimbursement or compensation has to be made by the wrongdoer to the plaintiff. The amount or form of compensation is decided by the court by looking into the matter.
    On the other hand, in criminal law, incarceration or fine are the ways of punishment to rehabilitate the criminal.
  3. If more than 50% of the proofs are against the defendant, in the case of civil law, then the plaintiff is considered to be the winner. However, a minimum of 99% proof has to be against the defendant, in a criminal case, in order to prove him or her guilty.
  4. In civil law, the case is filed by either of the parties. The party or person who brings up the case to the court is known as the plaintiff.
    In criminal law, the case cannot be brought up by the victim. The government hires officials who are responsible for finding the suspect and put him into the trial.
  5. The appeal can be made by either of the parties in civil law. However, on the other hand, in criminal law, the appeal can only be made by the defendant.

 

Conclusion

Both the laws, civil and criminal, are essential for the proper functioning of the judicial system.

The wrongdoings have been categorized by a set of rules, and the actions are also taken according to the classification.

The civil law ensures the action in cases of dispute between two parties. The wrongdoer, in this case, has to reimburse at last.

However, in criminal law, the convicted has to be imprisoned as a form of punishment.

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Word Cloud for Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Civil Law and Criminal Law. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Differences between Civil Law and Criminal Law
Word Cloud for Civil Law and Criminal Law

 

References

  1. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/80c2/d112b4309a032c429a1f1058e5bbd4022915.pdf
  2. https://repository.uchastings.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3041&context=hastings_law_journal
  3. https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1240&context=faculty_scholarship