Unlike criminal prosecution, civil action is a lawsuit brought to court in order to receive damages or to recover a right. Civil litigation usually involves disputes of private law issues between individuals, businesses or non-profit organizations. At the same time, civil litigations can entail public law issues.
A civil litigation lawsuit is started as soon as the plaintiff files a written complaint. The defendant will then respond and deliver a written “answer” to the complaint in order to make any kind of plea.
After the answer is filed the parties engage in the “discovery” process. At this point the parties will learn about all the facts involved in the case in order to prepare the trial. The discovery process includes witness questioning and answering, the exchange of documents, as well as written questions, known as “interrogations.
Possible civil litigation lawsuits include, but are not limited to:
Employee grievance appeals
Employee discrimination claims
General civil claims
Whether you are entering the civil litigation lawsuit as the plaintiff or the defendant, it is important to have a qualified and specialized civil litigation lawyer by your side.
Civil law, as opposed tocriminal law, is the branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals and/or organizations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim. For instance, if a car crash victim claims damages against the driver for loss or injury sustained in an accident, this will be a civil law case.
In the common law, civil law is the area of laws and justice that affect the legal status of individuals. Civil law, in this sense, is usually referred to in comparison to criminal law, which is that body of law involving the state against individuals (including incorporated organizations) where the state relies on the power given it by statutory law. Civil law may also be compared to military law, administrative law and constitutional law (the laws governing the political and law making process), and international law. Where there are legal options for causes of action by individuals within any of these areas of law, it is thereby civil law.
Civil law courts provide a forum for deciding disputes involvingtorts (such as accidents, negligence, and libel), contract disputes, the probate of wills,trusts, property disputes, administrative law, commercial law, and any other private matters that involve private parties and organizations including government departments. An action by an individual (or legal equivalent) against the attorney general is a civil matter, but when the state, being represented by the prosecutor for the attorney general, or some other agent for the state, takes action against an individual (or legal equivalent including a government department), this is public law, not civil law.
The objectives of civil law are different from other types of law. In civil law there is the attempt to right a wrong, honor an agreement, or settle a dispute. If there is a victim, they get compensation, and the person who is the cause of the wrong pays, this being a civilized form of, or legal alternative to, revenge. If it is an equity matter, there is often a pie for division and it gets allocated by a process of civil law, possibly invoking the doctrines of equity. In public law the objective is usually deterrence, and retribution.
An action in criminal law does not necessarily preclude an action in civil law in common law countries, and may provide a mechanism for compensation to the victims of crime. Such a situation occurred whenO.J. Simpson was ordered to pay damages for wrongful death after being acquitted of the criminal charge of murder.
Civil law in common law countries usually refers to both common law and the law of equity, which while now merged in administration, have different traditions, and have historically operated to different doctrines, although this dualism is increasingly being set aside so there is one coherent body of law rationalized around common principles of law.