Tort Law Vs Criminal Law

Criminal law and tort law both have general goals in mind. It is possible to track down wrongdoers using both criminal and tort laws. It is possible to punish wrongdoers through the application of both criminal and tort laws. To prevent others from committing wrongdoing, both criminal and tort laws are applied.

What is Tort Law?

In tort law, the claimant files a lawsuit in an effort to seek a private civil remedy, or damages, for the loss sustained. Infringement of a person's legal rights is referred to as injury, while loss or damage that a person experiences is referred to as hurt.

Every civil court case, with the exception of contractual lawsuits, is typically handled under tort law. By putting financial culpability on the tortfeasor as compensation, the law serves as a countermeasure to provide remedy for the wrongdoing committed against a person by another.

  • According to Sir John Salmond: A "tort" is a civil wrong for which the only available remedy is a common law action for punitive damages and which does not only result from a breach of contract, breach of trust, or other purely equitable requirement.

  • According to Austin: "A wrong that is prosecuted at the option of the injured party and his counsel is a civil injury ".

Some frequent examples of a tort include negligence, harm, deliberate infliction of mental distress, and breach of privacy.

What is Criminal Law?

A crime is defined as the intentional commission or failure to commission of an act that constitutes an offense because it is dangerous or threatening. Such behavior is expressly forbidden, criminally sanctionable, and defined as such in the criminal law. Imprisonment, a fine, or a combination of the two will serve as the penalty.

In other terms, a crime is any unlawful, illegal, or antisocial conduct that not only violates the law but also goes against social norms. Basically, the jurisdiction in which a person resides determines whatever behavior or deed is considered "criminal."

For the following reasons, crime is an unlawful act

  • First of all, criminality violates the established social laws.

  • Crime has an impact on the standard of living of law-abiding citizens who want to live in peace in society.

  • Last but not least, a crime is an intentional violation of a person's basic rights.

Difference between Tort Law and Criminal Law

Based on the above discussion, the given table highlights the major differences between tort law and criminal law −

On the Basis ofTort LawCriminal Law
MeaningTort refers to a negligent act that results in harm or injury for which the party who was harmed seeks compensation from the negligent party under civil law.Crime is any offense, wrongdoing, or illegal act for which the perpetrator will face legal repercussions.
InvolvesInfringement of individual rights.Violation of public rights.
In CourtIn civil court, the defendant will be sued.In a criminal court, the defendant or accused will be tried.
ObjectiveIt protects the rights of a person.To uphold law and order in society, to prevent crime, and to punish offenders.
RemedyThe defendant must pay the court-determined damages or compensation after being found to be at fault.The defendant will receive a penalty if found guilty of the crime.
TermDefendantAccused (sometimes defendant also) and after conviction criminal
PunishmentMonetary fine (damages).Usually imprisonment or/and fine.
Standard of ProofPreponderance of evidence, often known as the balance of probabilities.Beyond Reasonable Doubt.
Burden of Proof Rest with claimant.Rest with the prosecution.


In essence, torts are generally unintended or accidental, but because of negligence, an injury occurs that requires compensation or restoration. Tortures, however, may occasionally be willfully committed. Crimes, on the other hand, are intentional wrongdoings carried out with the goal of doing harm to or endangering others in order to obtain an illegal profit.


Q1. Is tort a civil or criminal law?

Ans. Even though these tort laws are crucial, the criminal courts handle the majority of them when it comes to purposefully causing bodily injury (sometimes with the plaintiff also appearing as a civil party and claiming damages, as in France).

Q2. Why is tort law not criminal law?

Ans. Accidents frequently imply that torts cover both purposeful and negligent behavior. In contrast to criminal law, where the plaintiff is the State and the offense is against the State, tort law's plaintiff is the person who was the victim of the offense.

Q3. Is every crime a tort?

Ans. Crimes differ from torts in that people who commit them act against society as a whole rather than simply one specific victim.

Q4. Which is both tort and crime?

Ans. Numerous wrongs fall under both civil and criminal law, such as fraud or annoyance, trespass, wrongful confinement, etc. which is illegal under both tort law and criminal law.

Updated on: 17-Mar-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started