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Differences Between Criminal Law and Civil Law

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Part one A- Differences between Criminal law and Civil law

The law of Tort and Contract law are parts of civil law; criminal law concerns offences against the state. The law of Tort and criminal law are involved with wrong doings.

        Civil law deals with disputes between private individuals.

In civil law the claimant will sue the defendant, while in criminal law a prosecutor will have to prosecute the defendant.

The prosecutor in criminal law must prove his case beyond reasonable doubt. The claimant in civil law must base his case on a balance of probabilities; which indicates that the level of proof is different.

 In civil law cases, any action a person decides to take depends on the practical differences, such as legal limits or bringing and action or how calculations are done.        

        In criminal law the defendant must be sentenced if guilty and be released if innocent, in civil law the defendant may be found accountable.

        Sanctions in criminal law consists imprisonment, fines, and community service. In civil law it is damages, injunctions specific performance and rescissions.

        However, the same action may give rise to civil and criminal law proceedings, as seen in a vehicular car accident; The Magistrates court can order the driver to pay indemnity for personal injuries, lose or damage. The driver can also be sued by the injured person in a county court for remedies in the Tort of negligence.

        Different courts listen to criminal cases. The High court and County court have similarities and both have civil remedies at compensation for affected parties. Only the County court and High court listen to their cases.  

Civil law is private law; it involves a relationship between individual citizens, it is the legal mechanism where individuals can defend their claims adjudicated and enforced.

Criminal law relates to conduct which the state considers with disapproval and which it seeks to control; it is an aspect of public law.

The State is a representative of society and acts to ensure obedience and also Criminal law involves enforcement of behavior of particular forms.

Criminal cases are brought by the State in the name of the Crown and cases are reported in the form of:


In civil law cases are reported by names of the parties involved in the dispute as:


The decisive difference between civil and criminal law is the level of proof in the different types of cases seen above.

Criminal law is more important to maintain social order while Civil law is important in the Business world and deals with actions such as nuisance brought against a Business where its operations disturb the unreasonable interference of a persons’ use and enjoyment of his property.


Criminal law and Civil law have their own distinct legal systems.

In Civil law the law of Tort provides a relief for persons who have suffered injuries, the claimants in most Torts must prove that he suffered some damage such as personal injury or damage of his property. He must prove that the damage was done by the defendant’s rights invested in the Claimant, and which is recognized by law.

Contract law associates with obligations which are forced and agreed upon by contracting parties.



Since the law fixed the duties of liabilities in Tort the parties to an action have no contract before the Tort is committed.

        The law of Tort is concerned with involuntary obligations imposed by persons by law.

The terminology in the criminal court is different from a civil court. In Criminal law the action is heard in magistrates’ or Crown court.

In Criminal Law the natural and legal persons as a company can all be prosecuted.

The law of Tort is important in the Business world and deals with actions such as nuisance brought against a business when its operation disturbs the unreasonable interference of a person’s use and enjoyment of his property. Now under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Halsey V Esso Petroleum (1961)

Adams V Ursell (1913)

The law of Tort has a time limit of six years for taking legal action, from the date of damage under the Limitation Act 1980. If the claim is based on certain truths such as negligence or nuisance the time for an action is three (3) years.

The time limit for Contract Law is six (6) years under the Limitation Act 1980 but from the date of breach of Contract.

In civil law there are differences where Tort liability arises from a duty imposed by law. Contract liability arises from agreements between the parties. Contract is less willing to contemplate awarded damages for nebulous factors such as injury or feelings.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003

This Act involves the purposes of sentencing Adult offenders. They are listed below;

  • Punishment
  • Community Service
  • Fines
  • Crime reduction
  • Reform
  • Reparation
  • Rehabilitation of offenders

A Business man may find himself in a breach of Criminal law under:

  • Company Act (2006)
  • Health and Safety of work Act (1994)
  • Consumer Protection from unfair Relations (2008)

A Criminal Court now has a limited power to order an offender to pay compensation for any personal injury, loss of damage.

The Purpose of Criminal and Civil Law

  • To place the claimant in the position he would have been in if the contract had been done.
  • To protect a person’s right and compensate for any hard caused.
  • Civil law purpose is the support and to determine the breech of the contract.
  • To settle disputes between individuals and to produce remedies.
  • In awarding damages it is to restore the claimant in so far as money can do so to his pre-accident.
  • To compensate losses such as loss of amenities, pain suffering and nervous shock.

The purpose of Criminal law is conviction, imprisonment, fines, to pay compensation and control conduct.

I agree in part with the preposition since Civil laws have similarities and civil remedies with compensation in a same two court.

To achieve Justice

To resolve a dispute and to achieve justice, the Civil Procedure Act (1997) and the Civil Procedure Rule (1995) apply to all Civil Courts and they were designed to lead to a quicker and less confrontational settlement than litigation.



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