Whether civil or criminal, laws are there to protect and safeguard the rights of individuals and subjects from violations both civil and criminal in nature. While the intent of all laws is the same- to aid justice, the procedural aspect and the remedy differ in the event of violation. Yet, there are similarities between civil and criminal case stages such as the trial and the judgment. If civil law provides remedy in terms of compensations or liquidated damages, criminal law remedy is primarily penal in nature. Civil claim happens by filing complaints whereas criminal charge is filed by the Sate because a civil wrong is always against person or entity whereas a criminal offense is almost always against the state.
When a civil wrong is committed, the plaintiff files a complaint against the defendant demonstrating the nature of wrong, causes, possible and probable damages and the claims. He may seek both compensatory and punitive remedy. The defendant who takes notice of the case defends his side with suitable evidence and by invoking relevant provisions of the procedural law.
In criminal law, the complainant is always the state represented by prosecution. The defendant is the accused or suspect arrested and detained before trial. A jury decides whether the case is fit to enter trial on the face of the evidence on hand. If the circumstances warrant a trial, then an investigation into the matter is ordered which would determine the release of the defendant before trial.
Trial, criminal law vs civil law
A trial always begins with the opening statements from the parties concerned. In civil litigations, the plaintiff or his counsel is the first to render his statement while it is for the prosecution to open in a criminal trial. Both sides present their evidences followed by consequential examinations and cross examinations of these evidences by both sides.
Resolution of cases without trial
There are chances that a civil case may be resolved out of court before trial if both parties intend same. In criminal cases, the resolution without trial could happen when the defendant pleads guilty or if he is convicted without trial, the discretion resting solely with the jury.
Criminal law vs Civil law is much more than this. Students of law need to pass through troves of judgments to get a glimpse on a few landmark judgments that have affected and are still affecting today’s cases.