Difference Between Tort and Crime

It is generally human nature to cherish peace and harmony around. However, the person can go to extremity when ambition and greed overpower this tranquillity.


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The law code of Ur Nammu is the oldest known law code in the world. Other remarkable ones are the laws of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) and the laws of the town of Eshnumma (1800 BC).

Key Takeaways

  1. A tort is a civil wrong that causes harm or loss to another individual, resulting in legal liability and possible compensation to the injured party.
  2. A crime is an act or omission that violates a law and can result in punishment, such as fines or imprisonment, imposed by a governing authority.
  3. The main distinction between the two lies in their legal nature: torts are civil wrongs focused on compensation. At the same time, crimes are offenses against society with a focus on punishment.

Tort vs Crime

The difference between tort and crime is that a tort causes damage to an individual, whereas a crime damages the conscience of society at large.

Tort vs Crime

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A tort is a new word in the world of crime. Albeit considered the same as crime, its use is subtly different. A tort is a wrongful act of a person that causes considerable mental or physical suffering or loss to a person.

A crime is an offensive and illicit act that provokes intense condemnation from the law and society. It is always intentional and causes great harm to the victim, even the loss of life.


Comparison Table

Parameter Of ComparisonTortCrime
DefinitionA tort is a wrongdoing that breaches the property or identity of an individual.A crime is a malicious act that causes damage to an individual’s life.
Category of OffenseA tort comes under the category of a civil offence. It includes violation of property, liability, or other rights.A crime comes under the category of a criminal offence. It includes murder, robbery, assault, and other malicious acts.
Linking of IntentionA tort may be intentional or unintentional. It may be an accident or a deliberate act.A crime is always intentional. A criminal has hidden motives that he unleashes when he cannot hold them inside him for long.
The PlaintiffIn a tort, the person who has borne the damage files a lawsuit against the culprit.The federal courts and society representatives file a lawsuit against the culprit in the case of a crime.
Restoration of JusticeThe culprit is fined and sometimes sentenced to imprisonment for a short term to compensate for the plaintiff’s loss.The culprit is sentenced to life imprisonment or death based on the crime’s intensity and society’s expectations.


What is Tort?

A tort is a harmful act that causes substantial damage to a person. This damage may be in the form of mental torture, financial default, defamation or infringement of property.

A tort is a civil offence. The convicted person is called a tortfeasor, while the plaintiff is called the injured party. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove the evidence for the conviction of the tortfeasor.

The plaintiff files a lawsuit in a civil court. The court punishes the tortfeasor based upon the nature of the tort, negligent or deliberate.


What is Crime?

A crime is a condemnable act that draws the flak of the state and the ire of society. It deliberately harms an individual to a great extent.

A criminal case is filed in a criminal court. The victims may not be sound enough to present evidence to the court. Therefore, the state takes up the responsibility for the conviction of the accused.

Crimes include murders, assaults, and others. However, innocent people are often convicted, or the culprits are set free due to a lack of evidence.

Main Differences Between Tort and Crime

Although crime is the general word used in court hearings and proceedings, it cannot be substituted for tort in a formal environment.

Tort and crime are different in intensity and many other aspects. The main differences between the two are :

  1. In a tort, the plaintiff files the lawsuit. On the other hand, the state takes up management responsibility in a criminal case.
  2. The sentences in a tort are generally lax, whereas the punishment for a crime is stern and definite.

  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/bulr76&section=22
  2. https://ir.law.fsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1185&context=articles
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