Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law


Main Difference

Civil law and Criminal law both are the law attributes which are often confused and mixed by public. Civil law and criminal law are totally different from each other and have their way of pursuing the legal authorities. Criminal law is the body of law that refers towards the crime and illegal activities that fall into the category of crime according to the law of a particular state or country. Civil law is the legal system which deals with the overall scenario and is responsible for unfairness and setting up rules against it. The basic difference between criminal and civil law is that criminal law refers towards the punishment of the crimes, whereas civil law focuses more on the compensation of loss of the sufferer.

Comparison Chart

Civil LawCriminal Law
The Civil law usually refers to the disputes and personal issue between individuals, organization, etc. It focuses on compensating the victim more than punishing the committer.The criminal law refers towards the law body which deals with the criminal activities, violation of law and punishments regarding it.
Punishment Type
Usually, the punishment refers towards the financial compensation in case of any loss or injury even.The punishment is according to the specific law of the country or the state in which the law is violated, but usually, cases involve imprisonment, financial compensation and some swear cases includes lifetime imprisonment and the death penalty as well.
Jury Opinion
The unanimous decision of the jury is not that much concerned usually but depends on the law of the state and country specifically.The unanimous decision of the jury is very much important. The judgment is highly accurate based on authentic proves and evidence.
Committer is either found liable or non-liable.The defendant is either found guilty or not involved.
The basic purpose is to maintain peace between public and their relations.The basic purpose is to maintain the stability of the country and to control illegal activities.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is totally on the sufferer, a person who claims to suffer or is a victim of a particular incident. The claimant has to provide authentic evidence and proofs to get the compensation.According to the criminal law, a person is innocent until he or she is proven guilty. The prosecution has to provide authentic evidence and proofs.
Case Filed by
A private party that suffers or claim to have any loss.The government can itself take the notice and file the case in a violation of law. The victims can also file the case.
Common Examples
Common examples of issues that fall into the category of civil law are disputes between two organization, divorce issue, the dispute between owner and employer, the dispute between tenant and landlord and another similar kind of issue.Common examples of criminal law violations include theft, robbery, kidnapping, murder, torture, etc.

What is Civil Law?

Civil law is the law system or law body of any of the specific state or country which deals with the disputes between individuals, public and in between organizations. It is a non-criminal common law system that more precisely focuses on resolving the disputes and issues between two parties. Civil law is also known as civilian law and Roman law in many of the countries of Europe. This law was initially first originated from the Europe. In the early ages of Roman Empire and Greek time, a kind of civil law was setup, which main focus was to make peace between the people of the state and make them unite. Civil law was referred as the common law of the state at first and later on was contrasted with the decisional law and then judgmental law which involves the jury and judges. Later on, this civil law named as common law spread all around the world from the Europe and is now among the basic law portion of world top famous law bodies and legal systems like Halakha, canon law, common law and Islamic law. In other words, we can say that civil law deals with the private relations, disputes and issues of public and common people living together as a community in a state or country. Civil law does not deal with any religious issue, military issues, criminal issues and various other specified ones. It is a general law that is responsible for keeping positive and peaceful environment among the people. A major focus of the civil law is in resolving the disputes between individuals and organizations. Civil law does not involve any physical punishment or imprisonment as it is a totally different concern and falls in another law category. It moreover focuses on the compensating the affected and suffering party financially.


What is Criminal Law?

Criminal law is the law body of any state or country that specifically deals with the health, safety, and protection of its people. Criminal law is the specified law body that focuses on dealing with the criminals committing crimes and involve in illegal activities. Criminal law is a different set up in every state and country according to their religious involvement and other social norms. Criminal activities such as stealing, kidnapping, killing, assaulting, damaging, etc. all these are a deal under the criminal code law of the state. The case is usually filed either by the government itself or the victim. By proper trials in the court by evidence and proofs, if the person is found accused of doing something illegal and is guilty then he or she is punished accordingly. Usual punishments include physical imprisonment and financial compensation as well. Swear cases may also involve lifetime imprisonment and the death penalty as well.

Civil Law vs. Criminal Law

  • Civil law is the legal system which deals the disputes and issue between common public and organization of a particular state or country.
  • Criminal law is the law body of every state or country that deal with the criminal activities, violation of the law and punish over illegal acts.
  • Civil law does not include any physical punishment and imprisonment.
  • Criminal includes imprisonment and physical punishment.
  • Civil law focuses more on financially compensating the sufferer.
  • Criminal law is differently defined in every state and country.
  • Civil law is usually basic and common in every state and country.
  • Criminal law deal with health and safety of people living in a state.
  • Civil law deals with moral welfare of public living together as a community in a particular state or country.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss