What Is The Difference Between Criminal Law And Civil Law?

August 25, 2022
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

It might be challenging to know where to go after you find yourself in an unfortunate event. You want legal assistance to help you settle your problem. However, it is difficult for you to decide between criminal and civil law as a way to resolve your case.

The differences between the two below will help you to understand the significant difference between the two easily.

What is Criminal Law?

Criminal law relates to wrongdoings that negatively impact the whole society, as opposed to just one person. They are made by Parliament and set out what is considered to be acceptable and unacceptable conduct in the UK.

When a person enacts a criminal act in breach of criminal law, they will face a criminal trial in court.

If the person is found guilty of a crime, that person will receive a penalty in line with the law. This may be a fine, prison sentence, or the death penalty, depending on the severity of the crime you committed.

Examples include sexual assault, murder, fraud, drunken driving, money laundering, drug dealing, and domestic abuse.

What is Civil Law?

In civil law, a case is initiated when a complaint is filed by a party, private entity, an organization, individual, a company, or a corporation, against another party.

The person who suffers is called the complainant, and the party responding is called the defendant.

In civil litigation, the complainant asks the court to order the defendant to remedy a wrong, often in monetary compensation.

Civil law also includes civil recovery where agents take the help of property freezing orders and civil recovery solicitors to recover the value of the property obtained through unlawful conduct.

Examples include breach of contract, debt, personal injury, medical negligence, libel, defamation, and wrongful arrest.

Main Differences Between Both Civil and Criminal case

Punishment: The gravity of a sentence depends on the activities done by an individual.

The accused may receive a jail sentence, a fine if proven guilty under criminal law, and a death sentence in exceptional cases.

Civil law usually involves compensation for injuries or damages, the disposition of property, and other disputes.

For example, In a dispute between a landlord and a tenant, the landlord or the tenant may bring a case regarding rent. The court may order that the apartment be vacated or ask the landlord to pay back the rent.

Liability: A person who bears damage or injury from wrongful acts and even accidents of others can seek financial remedies in civil or criminal court.

In civil cases, it creates a personal liability against an individual or an organization.

It creates a responsibility for the preparator against society and the victim in criminal cases.

Infringement: It is a violation, a breach, or an unauthorized act. Infringement occurs in various situations. A violation of the rule of law is also an infringement.

In civil matters, the private rights of an individual get infringed.

Whereas in criminal cases, public rights are violated.

Decision: The decision in both cases differs by the UK’s solicitor.

The court’s decision in a criminal case is guilty or not guilty.

In a civil court, it is liable or not liable.


Laws are created to help society function, achieve specific goals and make the world more peaceful. To provide opportunities for people to have freedom and success. Both human nature and the function of society have unpredictable behavior, and to keep the balance, the legal system resolves conflict and provides justice to aggrieved parties.

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