Differentiate Between Criminal Law and Civil Law

Easily learn to Differentiate Between Criminal Law and Civil Law, Read this guide to know the difference between civil law and criminal law.

Differentiate Between Criminal Law and Civil Law
Differentiate Between Criminal Law and Civil Law


While those in the legal profession, including law students, may be familiar with every area of the country’s legal system, the average person may simply know the fundamentals of the legal system. The two branches that are most familiar to everyone are criminal and civil law. These two topics are often covered by the legislation, which also likely covers the majority of it. Anyone can determine the general differences, but in this particular article, we enable the readers to understand and examine in-depth the topics covered by both criminal and civil laws. Because of our large population, which leads to laws being broken and rights being violated, the laws of India contain many different forms of segregation. A wide range of laws had to be introduced in India as a result of the rise in these kinds of activities, giving us access to a wide range of legal categories and branches. The heads of legislation of India that make up Indian law are as follows:

1. Laws that are Public and Private

2. Criminal and Civil

3. International law and Municipal law

4. Substantive and Procedural law.

We also have Statutory Laws and Common Laws in addition to these. The wide variety of activities and legislations covered by the laws mentioned above allows India to have an extensive set of laws, of which we will concentrate on the distinctions between civil and criminal law.


Civil laws are legal rules that address harm or injury caused by the actions of one person to another individual or their property. These laws are intended to settle disagreements between private parties—that is, between people or companies. Unlike criminal laws, civil laws do not typically involve punishment or penalties for illegal conduct. Instead, they aim to provide compensation or restitution to the party that has been harmed.

Numerous topics are covered by civil laws, including contract disputes, property damage, personal injury, and family affairs including custody and divorce. In civil cases, the party that has been harmed can seek compensation for any damages they have suffered as a result of the other party’s actions. This compensation can include monetary damages, such as payment for medical bills, property repairs, or lost wages, as well as non-monetary damages, such as pain and suffering.

In a civil case, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, who must show that the defendant’s actions caused harm or injury. The defendant can then present evidence to refute the plaintiff’s claims. The court could order the defendant to provide the plaintiff damages or compensation if the plaintiff is successful in establishing their case.


Because civil law is so evolving, it is stuck with a wide range of qualities and distinctive elements, which are as follows:

1. Civil law is the area of law in which matters are heard by relevant Civil Courts and Tribunals.

2. Rather than imprisoning either party, a monetary settlement is made to make up for the harm done to them.

3. They are a body of defined rules and rulings that each party must abide by.

4. Given that contract law is a major segment of civil law, there is a strong tendency in civil law towards contractual duties.


As was already noted, civil law is so broad that it contains several different branches that together provide for a highly successful legal profession for those who practice it. The primary function of civil law’s operating processes is to give parties a means of settling disputes. There are many different branches of civil law; some are defined, others are codified, and some are founded on prior decisions. The branches of civil law that are available are as follows:


Contract law is a vital aspect of civil law and is widely practised. It is a body of laws that regulates contracts and other legally enforceable agreements. The primary objective of contract law is to provide effective remedies and procedures for enforcing these agreements, and the law offers relevant solutions for contract violations. If a party violates the terms of a contract, the affected party has the right to seek legal redress.

Contract law in India is governed by the Indian Contract Act of 1872. The Act provides comprehensive and detailed provisions for all legally binding contracts and explains the various types of contracts, such as express and implied contracts. It also defines the appropriate and inappropriate terms of an agreement, such as the legality of the contract, the capacity of the parties to contract, and the free consent of the parties.

To guarantee that each party to a contract is safeguarded and their rights are upheld, the Indian Contract Act of 1872 is crucial. It provides a clear framework for creating and enforcing contracts, ensuring that all parties understand their obligations and responsibilities. This Act applies to all individuals and entities in India, including businesses, organizations, and individuals.


Within the field of civil law, tort law addresses situations in which one person injures, damages, or causes harm to another, so placing the offending party under legal liability. The harmed party is entitled to file a lawsuit against the party that caused the harm. Tort law encompasses a wide range of issues, including but not limited to negligence, trespassing, and violations of privacy.

When someone enters another person’s property without their consent or authorization, it is known as trespassing.  For instance, if someone enters a neighbour’s yard without their consent and causes damage to their property, they can be sued for trespassing.

Privacy violations occur when someone invades another person’s privacy. This can involve spying, unauthorized sharing of personal information, or using someone’s image or likeness without their consent. For instance, if someone takes pictures of another person without their consent and shares them online, they can be sued for violating that person’s privacy.

Unlike other areas of law, tort law is mostly unwritten and lacks a well-established statute that governs it. This means that tort law is largely based on precedent, which refers to previous court decisions and judgments. Because of this, tort law can be difficult to understand and manage, necessitating the knowledge of seasoned legal experts.


Family law is a legal area that governs domestic relations and sets the rules for marital law within families. It addresses many different topics, including child custody, divorce, adoption, wills, and marriage. The purpose of family law is to ensure that family matters are resolved in a fair and just manner, while also safeguarding the interests of all parties involved.

In case of a dispute, family matters can be resolved through appropriate legal channels or, if preferred, through mediation. Through the voluntary process of mediation, an impartial third party assists the disputing parties in coming to a mutually acceptable resolution.

Several legislations regulate family law in India. A few of them are The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, the Special Marriage Act of 1954 and The Sharia Law etc.

In conclusion, family law is an important legal area that ensures that family matters are resolved in a just and equitable manner. It offers a framework for resolving conflicts and defending the interests of all parties concerned, whether via legal means or mediation.


Administrative law is a crucial area of civil law that is responsible for regulating the functioning of various government branches. It primarily deals with the rule-making, decision-making, and law enforcement functions of the executive branch of government. In simpler terms, administrative law is concerned with how the government operates, and it plays a vital role in ensuring that governmental bodies function fairly, transparently, and efficiently.

Reviewing governmental decisions is one of the main focuses of administrative law. In civil law countries, these rulings are typically reviewed by specialized administrative courts to ensure that they comply with the established legal framework and are consistent with the principles of fairness and justice.

Many topics are covered by administrative law, such as public health, education, labour, immigration, taxes, and environmental control. It also plays a significant role in safeguarding the rights of individuals and organizations by ensuring that the government’s actions are consistent with established laws and regulations.

In summary, administrative law is primarily concerned with overseeing the decision-making process of governmental bodies and ensuring that they act within the established legal framework. It is a complex and ever-evolving area of law that plays a crucial role in ensuring the proper functioning of government and protecting the rights of citizens.


Business laws are a broad set of legal regulations that govern the activities of companies and individuals engaged in trade and commerce. These laws comprise both public and private regulations and aim to ensure that businesses function within the framework of ethical and legal practices. A wide range of legal subjects are covered under the field of business law, including bankruptcy, tax, property, and contract law.

Corporate law is an important subject of business law that deals with the establishment, management, and dissolution of businesses. The investments made by corporations, as well as the duties and rights of directors, executives, and shareholders, are covered under corporate law. The Companies Act of 1956, for example, outlines the legal requirements for registering and regulating a company in India. Similarly, the Indian Partnership Act of 1932 governs the formation and operation of partnerships, while the Sales of Goods Act of 1930 lays down the rules related to the sale of goods.

In addition to these laws, the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act of 2002 provides a legal framework for the enforcement of security interests in financial assets. This act enables banks and other financial institutions to recover their dues from borrowers who have defaulted on their loans.


India’s civil proceedings are governed by a comprehensive legal framework known as the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. It serves as a guide to the process of establishing a case in civil law, including the filing of a lawsuit, the presentation of evidence, and the rendering of a verdict. There are two portions to the code. There are 158 sections in the first portion that cover Indian civil suit law and procedure. The second section comprises the First Schedule, which includes 51 orders and rules, that elaborate on the processes of execution, attachment, and sale of property.

The CPC is a crucial instrument in civil litigation because it provides a uniform framework for civil cases across India. All civil law processes must comply with the CPC to progress in court. The code ensures that the procedures followed in civil suits are fair, just, and efficient. It also helps in minimizing the delays and costs associated with litigation.


A crucial component of the legal system that addresses crimes against society is criminal law.
These crimes are considered wicked and harmful to society, and therefore, they require a different approach than civil disputes. Criminal law defines the types of offences that are punishable by law and the penalties that come with them.

The primary goal of criminal law is to uphold social order by making people answerable for their deeds. It is essential to make sure that individuals are secure and shielded from danger. Crimes that fall under criminal law include any actions that cause injury or affect their health in some other way.

Criminal law is more concerned with punishment and retaliation than civil law, which is more concerned with settling conflicts. Criminal law crimes are considered more serious than civil law crimes because they cause harm to individuals in ways that can be extremely frightening for society to comprehend and tolerate.

Criminal law makes sure that the person accused of a crime receives the proper punishment for their deeds. This includes imprisonment, fines, community service, and other forms of punishment. By guaranteeing that the prosecution bears the burden of proof and that the accused is given a fair trial, criminal law also serves to defend the rights of the accused.


1. Criminal Courts or Sessions Courts handle criminal law cases.

2. It is acceptable to justify the harm done to an individual by punishing the offender equitably.

3. It establishes a public crime against the public interest rather than a private responsibility.

4. It is a violation of the people’s rights.


Contrary to civil law, criminal law does not have distinct divisions; nonetheless, it does include several crucial procedural and regulatory laws that must be followed for a case to qualify as criminal. All laws and regulations about criminal activities are governed by these statutes. The crimes listed below fall under criminal law:


The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official code that governs criminal law in India. It is considered the substantive law in India and defines all the offences that are considered crimes in the country. The code consists of a comprehensive list of crimes, their elements, and the associated penalties for each of them.

After much investigation and discussion, the First Law Commission of India, which was founded in 1834, produced this code.

There are 511 sections total in the 23 chapters that make up the IPC. Each section addresses a specific offence, and it defines the elements of the crime, the severity of punishment, and the legal procedures to be followed in case of violation. The code also includes a list of all the crimes committed in India’s past, and it serves as a comprehensive guide for law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.


The Code of Criminal Procedure, commonly referred to as CrPC, is an essential document that serves as a guidebook for the administration of criminal justice in India. It covers a vast range of topics, including the investigation of crimes, the apprehension of offenders, the gathering of evidence, and the determination of guilt or innocence. Additionally, it establishes procedures for the administration of substantive laws.

The CrPC comprises 565 sections, 5 schedules, and 56 forms, which are organized into 37 chapters. The Act is a comprehensive legal framework that offers detailed guidelines on how to conduct criminal proceedings in India. The parts outline the responsibilities and authority of the courts, law enforcement, and police. The schedules and forms provide a standardized procedural framework for filing, serving, and executing legal documents.

The rights of accused parties are delineated in the CrPC as well, encompassing their entitlement to a just trial, legal counsel, and immunity from self-incrimination. It establishes procedures for bail and the pre-trial detention of suspects, as well as for the sentencing and punishment of convicted offenders.


One important statute that controls the admission of evidence in courts is the Evidence Act of 1872. It is a thorough legal framework that describes the many kinds of evidence that may be produced in court and how to get them. It covers all aspects of evidence, including oral, written, and electronic evidence, and the rules for their admissibility.

Moreover, the Evidence Act also discusses the significance of facts in establishing the commission of a crime. Facts play a crucial role in criminal cases, and the Act gives them great importance. The law emphasizes the sequence of events and all supporting documentation to establish the truth. This guarantees the accuracy, dependability, and credibility of the evidence offered.

The Evidence Act comprises a total of 167 Sections, each of which plays a crucial role in the process of evidence gathering and admissibility. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal advice and guidance when dealing with any legal matter that involves the presentation of evidence in court.


1MeaningCivil law addresses personal injury that may be made up for by monetary relief or other forms of compensation.Criminal law addresses offenses against society as well as crimes that harm individuals. The penalty for the offense is to prosecute the offender with imprisonment.
2LiabilityIt establishes a private responsibility for a person or an entity.The preparer becomes liable to both the victim and society as a whole.
3PunishmentIn most circumstances, cash compensation against the losses is how justice is served.The accused is dealt justice by being imprisoned for a certain amount of time, fined, or both.
4TriableCivil Courts or comparable tribunals have the authority to hear cases under civil law.Criminal law cases are handled by Sessions Courts or Criminal Courts.
5ObjectiveThe purpose of civil law is to settle disputes between people.Criminal law’s objective is to punish the accused in order to provide the victim justice.
6Conventional LawCivil Procedure Code, 1908Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
7Gravity of offencesNot as serious as a criminalmore serious than that of Civil
8Filing the CaseIn civil cases, the party who feels wronged brings the lawsuit.In criminal proceedings, the government submits paperwork on behalf of the victim.
9RegistrationIn civil cases, the case can often be filed with the court immediately.Before going immediately to court in a criminal matter, the case must be registered with the police department.
10Infringementviolation of individual rightsviolation of the people’s rights
11BranchesCorporate law, Family law, Property law, Media law, Sports lawNo diversion as such
12ExamplesTrespass, Invasion of PrivacyMurder, Rape


The distinction between criminal and civil law is unclear. Each has a unique set of rules since they are the two most important legal divisions. Both criminal and civil laws are governed by strong legislation and procedural laws. Civil law provides methods for settling conflicts, whereas criminal law contains mechanisms for punishment. Those who are prepared to choose one of them may do so because each is essential to the smooth running of our country.

There are more subfields in civil law than in criminal law. As we’ve seen, a vast range of subjects are covered by civil law, such as business law, corporation law, property law, and many more.

Certain areas of Civil law, like torts, are left uncodified, but nearly all of the laws and regulations under Criminal law are codified. As a result, every distinction between the two areas of law stands out and forms a complete framework that enables our nation to effectively combat crime, whether it be on the roads or in its offices.

For better clarity consult with good criminal lawyer in bangalore

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