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When something unfortunate has transpired, it may be difficult to choose where to begin. Your only objective is to ensure that justice is done, but deciding one of the two legal tracks—civil or criminal—to pursue seems like a difficult undertaking. In this post, we will discuss the primary distinctions that exist between civil vs criminal law. In order to give you a better idea of how both systems work.


The criminal justice system is in charge of defining and punishing the kinds of actions that are judged undesirable by society. This regulation takes the shape of offences and crimes, which were developed to serve as a check on society as a whole, as well as to safeguard individual interests and specific property rights. The definition of what constitutes good and evil in a given culture is essentially codified in a body of legislation known as criminal law. Because of this, committing a crime is seen as a "public wrong," which means that it is necessary to prevent it in order to preserve the ethical foundations upon which our society is built.

Of course, not every kind of improper behaviour will be considered for criminal prosecution. For instance, it is not the responsibility of the criminal justice system to uphold public morals. However, morality may serve as a criterion for the legislature to consider when determining whether or not the actions of individuals "inflict substantial harm" and, as a result, ought to be punishable by criminal sanctions. People may see adultery as immoral or even entirely wrong, yet engaging in an adulterous affair is not a criminal offence. Nevertheless, the public opinion of what constitutes immoral behaviour may not necessarily mirror what is or is not a criminal offence.

The behaviour of a society's subjects has always been subject to social regulation and, when required, punishment. This practise dates back to the earliest periods. Therefore, the law, in the form of the common law and statute law, has a long history and has continued to develop over a long period of time, producing a series of offences and crimes that lay out "the rules" that will inform individuals about what is required to commit a public wrong. This is because the law has a long history and has continued to develop over a long period of time.


In the United Kingdom, there is a broad spectrum of criminal law that encompasses a wide variety of deviant behaviours and activities. The following are some instances of laws that fall within the criminal category:

  • Assault

  • Burglary

  • Criminal Damage

  • Domestic Violence

  • Drugs

  • Fraud

  • Murder

  • Manslaughter

  • Rape


Cases that involve just private parties, such as two people or two people and an organisation, are heard under civil law. In civil law cases can be wrongs that are committed against another individual, their rights, or their property is considered to be violations of civil law.

"Claimant" is the term used to refer to the individual who files a claim under civil law. The individual who is being prosecuted is referred to as the "defendant" in legal proceedings. In employment proceedings they are referred to as “respondent”. When dealing with situations of this kind, the primary focus is almost always on determining whether or not the defendant owed the claimant a duty of care.

In civil law, if you are found to be responsible for an offence, you will not face the possibility of being given a custodial sentence. Instead, the emphasis in civil cases is often placed on damages, namely finical compensation in order to right wrongs and restoring people to the position they were in before to the occurrence of the event. In civil law most of the time, damages and compensation will be granted.


You have probably already been exposed to many aspects of civil law without even realising it, since they are a part of your day-to-day existence. The following are some of the most typical instances of civil law:

  • Employment law, such as unfair dismissal;

  • Breach of contract, such as where non-payment of an invoice or when money is owed to another;

  • Personal injury;

  • Liquation; and

  • Family disputes such as matters involving divorce.


You are not always required to make a decision between the criminal justice system and the civil justice system since there are occasions when both of these institutions civil vs criminal law may function together. A person's behaviour may constitute both a violation of the law and a legal wrong when directed towards another individual. Consider, for instance, a person who has purposefully caused the death of another person. They might be tried in a criminal court for murder and given a sentence after going through the legal system. On the other hand, one may also file a claim in civil court for wrongful death.

It is always wise to go for the criminal case first because once this conviction has been proved the civil case will flow from this because it is easier to prove a civil wrong. Vice a versa, it is possible, for a civil claim based on contract law to lead to a criminal prosecution of fraud. It is permissible although not advisable to have simultaneous proceedings unless the defendant would be put in a position where they faced a significant risk of bias that may lead to an unfair outcome in either the civil or criminal processes – or both.


As discussed in civil vs criminal law, criminal law protects society’s values by providing a code of conduct for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. In contrast, civil law exists to protect individuals against one another, particularly where criminal laws do not extend. Here is a highlight of the other important distinctions between the two areas of law:


In the area of criminal law, defendants are the ones who are charged with crimes by the Crown. The Crown Prosecution Service is an agency of the government that is responsible for bringing criminal charges in instances that have been investigated by the police. For civil law cases, the cases can be between individuals or between individuals and organisations. In civil law, the case is brought to the court by the “claimant” and the “defendant” is the one accused of wrongdoing. Cases brought under civil law may be brought between private parties, such as two persons, or between private parties and organisations. The person who is bringing the matter to court is referred to as the "claimant," and the person who is being accused of doing anything wrong is referred to as the "defendant."


Cases involving criminal activity are heard in criminal courts. There are many distinct categories and hierarchy of criminal court , the most common of which are the Magistrates' Court, the Crown Court, and for serious crimes the Old Bailey. There are many different kinds of courts and tribunals that hear civil matters. Depending on the monetary stakes involved, civil cases are often filed in either the County Court or the High Court. There are also specialised tribunals for particular areas of the law, such as the Employment Tribunal such as the Employment Tribunal Central in London Victory House.


In a criminal proceeding the burden of evidence that must be met to establish guilt is very onerous. It is required that the prosecution establish its case "beyond all reasonable doubt." To put this way, the jury or judge has to be "certain so that you may be certain." Do not quote me but imagine this is 75% guilt. In civil trials, the burden of evidence is not as heavy as it is in criminal ones. In civil law, the burden of proof falls solely on the claimant, who need merely establish that their position is more likely to be correct than not. It has to be shown that you are more likely than not, 51% to win. This indicates that they have the burden of demonstrating that their argument is more likely than not to be valid.


In a criminal proceeding, the verdict is either guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty in a criminal court, the purpose of the verdict is to bring about justice by the imposition of sanctions, both punitive and rehabilitative. If you have broken the law, you should be prepared to face the consequences, which may include paying a fine, complying with a community order, or going to jail, depending on the specific laws that you have broken. In the context of civil litigation, you will either be held guilty (often partly culpable) or not liable at all. Justice may be achieved via the use of civil law actions by restoring a person or organisation to the position they had before to the commission of any violation. In most cases, the judge, jury, or arbitrator will decide to award monetary damages (also known as compensation).


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