Civil Lawsuit Law & Legal Definition


Civil law is a body of law that determines private rights and liabilities, as distinguished from criminal law. Civil cases usually involve private disputes between persons or organizations. Criminal cases deal with acts considered to be harmful to society as a whole. A civil lawsuit is a lawsuit based on non-criminal statutes, such as disputes involving accidents or contracts. Civil suits typically seek to recover money damages or allow/disallow certain acts, rather than to imprison or punish a person. Because of the potential loss of liberty and personal rights involved, the standard of evidence in criminal cases is higher than in civil cases.