Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law

People break the law and violate their rights as a result of the numerous segregations provided by Indian law. To provide the better legal services, it is categorized as civil and criminal disputes and respectively civil law and criminal law. Any person or organization whose actions may injure a third party or an individual must abide by a set of rules that are codified by civil law. Criminal law, on the other hand, deals with actions that can be viewed as offensive by the general public, society, or country. Since they are the most prevalent and likely encompass the majority of the law, these two topics are also the most frequently covered.

What is Civil Law?

In general, civil laws refer to any harm or injury brought on by another person's act or conduct to a person or any other private property (business). Under civil law, the party's actions are not considered criminal in character. The resolution of disagreements between parties is a regular topic.

  • Typically, civil laws deal with redress by paying restitution or a fine to the party who was wronged or to the court. offense against society as a whole.

  • Compensation must be utilized to control civil law damages. Contrary to criminal law, civil law does not establish an offense against society as a whole.

Features of Civil Law

Due to its dynamic nature, civil law is characterized by a wide range of distinctive elements, including the following −

  • In the area of law known as "civil law," cases are heard by civil courts and tribunals.

  • Instead of imprisoning either party, the damages done to them are settled by paying them a certain sum of money.

  • They are a collection of decisions and laws that have been codified and are binding on all parties.

  • Contract law is the main subset of civil law; hence, it has a strong bias in favor of contractual commitments.

Civil law deals with actions that cause harm to a person or another private party, like a corporation.

Examples- Defamation (including libel and slander), contract violations, carelessness that causes harm or death, and property destruction.

Branches under Civil Law

Major branches of civil law are −

What is Criminal Law?

Criminal law is the body of law that deals with crime and the associated penalties. Criminal law deals with offenses against accepted social norms. Due to the terrible nature of the crime, it is a crime against the state, and every member of society needs to be aware of both the horrible crime that was committed and the penalty meted out to the guilty. Instead of civil law, there needs to be enough awareness of criminal law. Acts that are detrimental or otherwise put a person's health or property in jeopardy fall under the purview of criminal law.

  • Unlike civil law, which focuses more on resolving disputes, criminal law emphasizes punishment and retribution.

  • Criminal law deals with actions that are or could be interpreted as crimes against the general populace, society, or the state, even when the direct victim is a person.

Examples include homicide, assault, theft, and impaired driving.

Features of Criminal Law

Following are some of the features of criminal law −

  • Criminal Courts, or Sessions Courts, are the trial courts for cases governed by criminal law.

  • When the offender receives punishment on par with the harm done to the victim, the injury to the victim is justified.

  • Instead of creating a private liability, it establishes a public offense against the public interest.

  • It violates the rights of the general population.

Difference between Civil Law and Criminal Law

The table given below highlights the major differences between civil and criminal law −

Civil LawCriminal Law
Civil law is a wide body of legislation that settles conflicts between two organizations or people. According to civil law, the wrongdoer must make amends to the organization or person they have injured. Criminal law addresses crimes perpetrated against society. Depending on the offense committed, it metes out several levels of punishment.
Civil law deals with things like property, money, housing, divorce, child custody during a divorce, etc.Criminal law will address serious offenses like murder, rape, arson, robbery, assault, etc.
Evidence that is "preponderant" The plaintiff has the burden of proof. Evidence that goes beyond the weight of probabilities is required.The burden of proof is always on the state or government to prove something "beyond a reasonable doubt."
The goal of civil law is to safeguard an individual's or an organization's rights and ensure that he or she or the organization in question is made whole for the wrongs they have endured.Criminal law exists to hold offenders accountable, defend society, and uphold law and order.
Under contrast to criminal law, there is no punishment in civil law, but the party who was wronged is compensated, and the matter is resolved.When it comes to criminal law, the severity of the punishment is determined by the crime that was committed. A fine may also be imposed.
Civil law deals with matters such as possessions, money, housing, divorce, child custody in the event of a divorce, negligence, invasion of privacy, trespass, and other issues.Crimes like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, etc. are often covered by criminal law.


The distinction between criminal and civil laws is pretty clear. Being the two most significant areas of law, each has its own distinct set of guidelines. Both civil and criminal law is governed by strong legislation and procedural laws. Criminal law contains retribution machinery, whereas civil law includes mechanisms for resolving disputes. The majority of the law is covered by these two legal disciplines. People who want to pick one of them can do so because each one is crucial to the efficient operation of our nation. Civil law has a wider range of subfields than criminal law. As we have seen, civil law has several subsets, including corporate law, business law, and property law.


Q1. Can a civil case turn criminal?

Ans. Yes, when the evidence found in a civil matter sparks a criminal investigation, a civil case might change from civil to criminal. When evidence from the civil trial suggests that one of the parties may have committed a crime, a criminal case may be launched.

Q2. What is the opposite of civil law?

Ans. As most attorneys are aware, there are two primary groups of legal systems found in most nations: common law systems and civil law systems.

Q3. Who makes civil law?

Ans. Legislation, or broad, written laws created by the government, is the foundation of civil law. In this legal system, a judge's rulings have no bearing on a nation's laws.

Updated on: 15-Feb-2023


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