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Civil law and criminal law are two broad and separate entities of law with separate sets

of laws and
According to William Geldart, Introduction to English Law 146 (D.C.M. Yardley ed., 9th ed. 1984),
"The difference between civil law and criminal law turns on the difference between two different
objects which law seeks to pursue - redress or punishment. The object of civil law is the redress of
wrongs by compelling compensation or restitution: the wrongdoer is not punished; he only suffers
so much harm as is necessary to make good the wrong he has done. The person who has suffered
gets a definite benefit from the law, or at least he avoids a loss. On the other hand, in the case of
crimes, the main object of the law is to punish the wrongdoer; to give him and others a strong
inducement not to commit same or similar crimes, to reform him if possible and perhaps to satisfy
the public sense that wrongdoing ought to meet with retribution.
Examples of criminal law include cases of burglary, assault, battery and cases of murder. Examples
where civil law applies include cases of negligence or malpractice.
Comparison chart


Case filed by

Civil Law
Civil law deals with the disputes between
individuals, organizations, or between the
two, in which compensation is awarded to
the victim.
To deal with the disputes between
individuals, organizations, or between the
two, in which compensation is awarded to
the victim.
Private party
Defendant can be found liable or not
liable, the judge decides this.

Criminal Law
Criminal law is the body of law that
deals with crime and the legal
punishment of criminal offenses.
To maintain the stability of the state
and society by punishing offenders
and deterring them and others from
Defendant is convicted if guilty and
acquitted if not guilty, the jury decide

"Preponderance of evidence." Claimant

Standard of proof must produce evidence beyond the
"Beyond a reasonable doubt":
balance of probabilities.
Claimant must give proof however, the
"Innocent until proven guilty": The
burden may shift to the defendant in
Burden of proof
prosecution must prove defendant
situations of Res Ipsa Loquitur (The thing
speaks for itself).
A guilty defendant is subject to
Compensation (usually financial) for
Custodial (imprisonment) or NonType of
injuries or damages, or an injunction in custodial punishment (fines or
community service). In exceptional
cases, the death penalty.
Landlord/tenant disputes, divorce
Theft, assault, robbery, trafficking in
proceedings, child custody proceedings,
controlled substances, murder, etc.
property disputes, personal injury, etc.
Either party (claimant or defendant) can Only the defendant may appeal a
appeal a court's decision.
court's verdict. The prosecution is not

Civil Law

Jury opinion
of proceedings

Criminal Law
allowed to appeal.
In cases of civil law, the opinion of the
In the criminal justice system, the
jury may not have to be unanimous. Laws jury must agree unanimously before
vary by state and country.
a defendant is convicted.
By way of pleadings, Representatives
State/People/Prosecution by summons or
of the state, Prosecutor, Attorney

Criminal and Civil Law

Criminal law, one of two broad categories of law, deals with acts of intentional harm to individuals
but which, in a larger sense, are offences against us all. It is a crime to break into a home because
the act not only violates the privacy and safety of the home's occupants - it shatters the collective
sense that we are secure in our own homes. A crime is a deliberate or reckless act that causes harm
to another person or another person's property, and it is also a crime to neglect a duty to protect
others from harm. Canada's Criminal Code, created in 1892, lists hundreds of criminal offences from vandalism to murder - and stipulates the range of punishment that can be imposed. Since
crimes are an offence against society, normally the state or Crown investigates and prosecutes
criminal allegations on the victim's behalf. The police gather evidence and, in court, public
prosecutors present the case against the person accused of the crime. For someone to be convicted
of a crime, it must be proven that a crime was committed and, for most offences, that the person
meant to commit the crime. For instance, striking another person is the crime of assault but it is
only a crime if the blow was intentional.
Civil law deals with disputes between private parties, or negligent acts that cause harm to others .
For example, if individuals or companies disagree over the terms of an agreement, or who owns
land or buildings, or whether a person was wrongfully dismissed from their employment, they may
file a lawsuit asking the courts to decide who is right. As well, the failure to exercise the degree of
caution that an ordinarily prudent person would take in any situation may result in a negligence
claim. Depending on the circumstances, a person may be held responsible for any damages or
injury that occurs as a result of their negligence. Family law cases involving divorce, parental
responsibility for children, spousal support, child support and division of property between spouses
or common law couples represent a large portion of the civil law cases presented to the courts.
Challenges to decisions of administrative tribunals, allegations of medical malpractice and
applications for distribution of the estates of deceased persons are other examples of civil cases. The
party who brings the legal action is known as the plaintiff or applicant, while the party being sued
is the defendant or respondent. The courts may dismiss a case, or if it is found to have merit, the
courts may order the losing party to take corrective action, although the usual outcome is an order
to pay damages - a monetary award designed to make up for the harm inflicted. The state plays no
role in civil cases, unless the government launches a lawsuit or is the party being sued. Parties
retain a lawyer - or may choose to represent themselves - to gather evidence and present the case in
Differing standards of proof: More evidence is needed to find the accused at fault in criminal cases
than to find the defendant at fault in civil ones. To convict someone of a crime, the prosecution
must show there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed the crime and, in
most cases, that they intended to commit it. Judges and juries cannot convict someone they believe

probably committed the crime or likely is guilty - they must be almost certain. This gives the
accused the benefit of any reasonable doubt and makes it less likely an innocent person will be
wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Civil cases, in contrast, must be proven on a balance of
probabilities - if it is more likely than not that the defendant caused harm or loss, a court can
uphold a civil claim.
Q. Explain the relationship between International Law and Municipal Law.
International Law is the law which governs the Relations of sovereign independent States inter se
Municipal law or State law or national law is the law of a State or a country and in that respect is
opposed to International Law which consists of rules which civilized States consider as binding
upon them in their mutual relations. Kelsen observes that national law regulates the behavior of
individuals International law the behavior of States or as it is put whereas national law is concerned
with the international relations the so called domestic affairs of the State. International Law is
concerned with the external relations of the State its foreign affairs.
Legislature and court systems are different on the international and municipal levels. Where the
municipal level uses a legislature to help enforce and test the laws, the international court system
relies on a series of treaties without a legislature which, in essence, makes all countries equal.
Enforcement is a major difference between municipal and international law. The municipal courts
have a law enforcement arm which helps require those it determines to follow the rules, and if they
do not they are required to attend court. The international court system has no enforcement and
must rely on the cooperation of other countries for enforcement.
There is a divergence of opinion on the question as to whether International Law and Municipal
Law on the various national laws can be said to form a unity being manifestations of a single
conception of law or whether International Law constitutes an independent system of law
essentially different from the Municipal Law. The former theory is called monistic and the latter
Monistic Theory: Monists assume that the internal and international legal systems form a unity.
Both national legal rules and international rules that a state has accepted, for example by way of a
treaty, determine whether actions are legal or illegal. In most monist states, a distinction between
international law in the form of treaties, and other international law, e.g. jus cogens is made.
International law does not need to be translated into national law. The act of ratifying the
international law immediately incorporates the law into national law. International law can be
directly applied by a national judge, and can be directly invoked by citizens, just as if it were
national law. A judge can declare a national rule invalid if it contradicts international rules
because, in some states, the latter have priority. In other states, like in Germany, treaties have the
same effect as legislation, and by the principle of lex posterior, only take precedence over national
legislation enacted prior to their ratification. In its most pure form, monism dictates that national
law that contradicts international law is null and void, even if it predates international law, and
even if it is the constitution.It maintains that the subject of the two systems of law namely,
International Law and Municipal Law are essentially one in as much as the former regulates the
conduct of States, while the latter of individuals. According to this view law is essentially a
command binding upon the subjects of the law independent of their will which is one case is the
States and in the other individuals. According to it International Law and Municipal Law are two
phases of one and the same thing. The former although directly addressed to the States as
corporate bodies is as well applicable to individuals for States are only groups of individuals.

Dualistic theory: Dualists emphasize the difference between national and international law, and
require the translation of the latter into the former. Without this translation, international law does
not exist as law. International law has to be national law as well, or it is no law at all. If a state
accepts a treaty but does not adapt its national law in order to conform to the treaty or does not
create a national law explicitly incorporating the treaty, then it violates international law. But one
cannot claim that the treaty has become part of national law. Citizens cannot rely on it and judges
cannot apply it. National laws that contradict it remain in force. According to dualists, national
judges never apply international law, only international law that has been translated into national
law. According to the dualist view the systems of International Law and Municipal Law are
separate and self contained to the extent to which rules of the one are not expressly or tacitly
received into the other system. In the first place they differ as regards their sources. The sources of
Municipal Law are customs grown up within the boundaries of the State concerned and statutes
enacted therein while the sources of International Law are customs grown up within the Family of
Nations and law making treaties concluded by its members. In the second place Municipal Laws
regulates relations between the individuals under the sway of a State or between the individuals and
the State while International Law regulates relations between the member States of the Family of
Nations. Lastly there is a difference with regard to the substance of the law in as much as
Municipal Law is a law of the sovereign over individuals while International Law is a law between
sovereign State which is arrived at an agreement among them. The latter is therefore a weak law.
Besides the above two theories, Starke makes reference to two other theories namely, the
Transformation Theory and Delegation Theory.
Transformation Theory: According to this theory it is the transformation of the treaty into
national legislation which alone validates the extension to individuals of the rules set out in
international agreements. The transformation is not merely a formal but a substantial
requirement. International Law according to this theory cannot find place in the national or
Municipal Law unless the latter allows its machinery to be used for that purpose.
This theory is fallacious in several respects. In the first place its premise that International Law
and Municipal Law are two distinct systems is incorrect. In the second place the second premise
that International Law binds States only whereas municipal law applies to individuals is also
incorrect for International Law is the sum of the rules which have been accepted by civilized states
as determining their conduct towards each other and towards each others subjects. In the third
place the theory regards the transformation of treaties into national law for their enforcement.
This is not true in all cases for the practice of transforming treaties into national legislation is not
uniform in all the countries. And this is certainly not true in the case of law making treaties.
Delegation Theory: According to this theory there is the delegation of a right to every State to
decide for itself when the provisions of a treaty or convention are to come into effect and in what
manner they are to be incorporated in the law of the land or municipal law. There is no need of
transformation of a treaty into national law but the act is merely an extension of one single act. The
delegation theory is incomplete for it does not satisfactorily meet the main argument of the
transformation theory. It assumes the primacy of international legal order but fails to explain the
relations existing between municipal and international laws.
It is settled by the leading English and American decisions that International Law forms part of the
municipal law of those countries. The United States has unambiguously applied the doctrine that
International Law is part of the law of the land. All international conventions ratified by the USA
and such customary International Law as has received the assent of the United States are binding
upon American Courts even if they may be contrary to the statutory provisions. There is a

presumption in cases of conflict that the United States Congress did not intend to overrule
International Law.
Position in India
In India, SC has held in several cases such as Vishakha vs State of Rajasthan, Randhir vs Union of
India, Unnikrishnan vs State of Karnataka, that domestic laws of India, including the constitution
are not to be read as derogatory to International law. An effort must be made to read the domestic
law as being in harmony with the international law in case of any ambiguity. At the same time, the
constitution is still the supreme law of the land and in case of any directly conflict the constitution
will prevail.
Procedural law comprises the set of rules that govern the proceedings of the court in criminal
lawsuits as well as civil and administrative proceedings. The court needs to conform to the
standards setup by procedural law, while during the proceedings. These rules ensure fair practice
and consistency in the "due process".
Substantive law is a statutory law that deals with the legal relationship between people or the
people and the state. Therefore, substantive law defines the rights and duties of the people, but
procedural law lays down the rules with the help of which they are enforced. The differences
between the two need to be studied in greater detail, for better understanding.
Comparison chart
Procedural Law
Deals with and lays down the ways
Definition and means by which substantive law
can be enforced
No independent powers
Application Can be applied in non legal contexts
Regulation By statutory law

Substantive Law
Deals with those areas of law which establish the
rights and obligations of individuals , what
individuals may or may not do
Independent powers to decide the fate of a case
Cannot be applied in non legal contexts
By Act of Parliament or goverment implemation

Substantive Law Explained

Substantive law consists of written statutory rules passed by legislature that govern how people
behave. These rules, or laws, define crimes and set forth punishment. They also define our rights
and responsibilities as citizens. There are elements of substantive law in both criminal and civil law.
Civil law differs from criminal law in that it applies to interactions between citizens. Rather than
dealing with crime, civil law deals with tort, or actions that aren't necessarily illegal but can be
proven to be damaging in some way. For example, if you sue a neighbor for cutting down a tree and
letting it land on your house, that would be a civil case dealing with tort rather than a criminal case
dealing with crime.
Substantive law is used to determine whether a crime or tort has been committed, define what
charges may apply and decide whether the evidence supports the charges. Let's say a person is
caught drunk driving. Substantive law says that it is a crime punishable by a term in prison.

The substance of charges, or elements of a crime or tort, must be carefully evaluated to determine
whether a crime or tort really exists. In other words, specific facts need to be proven true in order
to convict somebody of a crime or a tort.
In the case of a person caught driving while intoxicated, a few things would have to be proven:

The person was driving the vehicle

The person acted in ways that gave the police a reason to believe he or she was intoxicated
The person was over the legal limit per a field sobriety and/or Breathalyzer test

Once these things are proven, the person can be taken into custody. Next, procedural law will
determine the steps the case must take.
Procedural Law Explained
Procedural law governs the mechanics of how a legal case flows, including steps to process a case.
Procedural law adheres to due process, which is a right granted to U.S. citizens by the 14th
Due process refers to the legal rights owed to a person in criminal and civil actions. It is one of our
14th Amendment rights and guarantees the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In the case of an arrest, the 14th Amendment applies to the degree that one can be charged with a
crime but still has rights to a speedy, fair and impartial trial. Charges must be filed with the court
within a specific time frame. The exact amount of time varies by jurisdiction, but 72 hours is
usually the maximum time a citizen can be held without being formally charged with a crime. In
some places, though, the maximum is 48 hours.
For example, in our drunk driving case, substantive law proved that the person was drunk while
driving a vehicle. The police were within their rights to make the arrest, but due process requires
that the person must be aware of all charges within 72 hours of his or her arrest.

Public vs Private Law

Legal terms may appear complicated to common individuals, which is why confusion usually occurs
during legal procedures. To have a deeper understanding of the basics regarding legal procedures,
let us take a look at the difference between two terms: Private law and public law. When is law
considered public or private? Read on to find out.
Public law is a theory of law that governs the relationship between the state and the individual, who
is considered to be either a company or a citizen. Public law covers three sub-divisions:
Constitutional, administrative and criminal law.
- Constitutional law covers the different branches of the state: Executive, legislative and judiciary.
- Administrative law regulates international trade, manufacturing, pollution, taxation, and the like.

- Criminal law involves state imposed sanctions for individuals or companies in order to achieve
justice and social order.
Private law is also known as civil law. It involves relationships between individuals, or private
relationships between citizens and companies. It covers the law of obligations and the law of torts,
which is defined as follows: Firstly, the Law of Obligation organizes and regulates legal relations
between individuals under contract. Secondly, the Law of Torts addresses and remedies issues for
civil wrongs, not arising from any contractual obligation.
Public law is simply distinguished from private law as a law involving the state. Private law is a
private bill enacted into law. It targets individuals or corporations, unlike public law, which has a
broader scope, and affects the general public.
1. Public law governs the individual, citizen or corporation, and the state, while private law applies
to individuals.
2. Public law deals with a greater scope, while private law deals with a more specific scope.
3. Public law deals more with issues that affect the general public or the state itself, whereas,
private law focuses more on issues affecting private individuals, or corporations.

Public Law Vs. Private Law

If you saw a man run from a convenience store with a few pilfered products under his arm, he is
violating public law. He committed the crime of theft, and that affects everyone.
On the other hand, if your neighbor filed suit against you because your barbeque smoke travels to
his yard, you may be violating private law. You infringed on your neighbor's right to the peaceful
enjoyment of his property.
Essentially, the difference between public law and private law is whether the act or acts affect
society as a whole or an issue between two or more people.
Public Law Explained
To simplify things, public law deals with issues that affect the general public or state - society as a
whole. Some of the laws that its wide scope covers are:

Administrative law - laws that govern government agencies, like the Department of
Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Constitutional laws are laws that protect citizens' rights as afforded in the Constitution
Criminal laws are laws that relate to crime
Municipal laws are ordinances, regulations and by-laws that govern a city or town
International laws are laws that oversee relations between nations

Let's use Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) to better understand public law as it
relates to an administrative agency.
In Brown v. Board of Education, Linda Brown, the plaintiff (brought about by her father, Oliver)
contended that his daughter was not being protected under the Constitution. Since Brown was
suing the Board of Education, this falls under constitutional law but an administrative agency was
sued for the violation.
Linda had to walk several blocks to the school bus stop even though a closer whites-only school
existed within a few blocks from her home. Brown's parents believed that Linda's 14 Amendment
rights were violated when she was banned from a white school closer to home because of her race.
The case was won because the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation a violation of Brown's
constitutional rights. This falls under public law because issues of segregation and discrimination
affect society as a whole, not just this particular child.
Private law is different. Private law help citizens resolve issues between themselves.
Private Law Explained
Private law affects the rights and obligations of individuals, families, businesses and small groups
and exists to assist citizens in disputes that involve private matters. Its scope is more specific than
public law and covers:

Contract law - governs rights and obligations of those entering into contracts
Tort law - rights, obligations and remedies provided to someone who has been wronged by
another individual
Property law - governs forms of property ownership, transfer and tenant issues
Succession law - governs the transfer of an estate between parties
Family law - governs family-related and domestic-related issues

In the case of Carvajal v. Hillstone Restaurant Group, Inc. (No. 10-57757), Carvajal ordered and
consumed a grilled artichoke at a local Houston restaurant. It was his first time consuming this
vegetable. Unaware of the proper way to scrape the flesh against ones teeth, he chewed and
swallowed the entire artichoke including all the leaves.
Hours later, he experienced severe gastrointestinal pain and required emergency medical attention.
He sought compensation from Hillstone Restaurant Group, Inc. in the amount of $15,000 for his
pain and suffering.