What is the difference between criminal and civil law?
In common-law countries which had their legal systems originate from the United Kingdom and the British Empire there are two types of law, broadly speaking. The first is criminal law. Criminal law is probably the oldest form of law. It essentially involves the representative of the community prosecuting an individual who has broken the rules by which the community has chosen to live. There is surprisingly little variation between the criminal laws of many countries. Virtually all societies appear to believe that murder is wrong, that sexual assault is wrong, that theft is wrong, and that violence against others in the same society is a form of moral wrongdoing which should be punished. Criminal law in Australia relates to these areas and is generally dealt with under the criminal law codes of the respective state in Australia which has jurisdiction to deal with the matter. There are some offences which are considered an offence under the federal criminal code. However these are a very specific type of offence which is an offence normally against the Australian government or at least has some form of national character.
Civil law on the other hand is the law that arbitrates on the disputes between citizens in a society. Went to individuals all legal personality is being incorporated have a dispute they can gather evidence to support their arguments in the dispute and bring the dispute before a judge who makes a decision and give their reasons for their decision in relation to what they believe the law of the nation says about the dispute. If either of the parties disagrees with the determination of the judge, the matter could be appealed to a higher court until the matter is heard before the highest court in the land. At this point there can be no further appeal and if anybody is still discontented with the decision they must turn to political means to attempt to resolve it.
This is the major difference between civil and criminal law. If you have a query about a civil matter or a criminal matter you can speak to us now online using the chat feature of this website or you can post your query to the contact form to the right or to the question box at the bottom of the page.