The field of law is a wide area and can be broken down in various sub categories. However, all its sub categories will fall in either of its two broad categories which are Criminal and Civil Law. Before seeking any form of legal service, it’s important for you to have an idea of which of these categories your legal trouble falls under so that you can be able to get the right lawyer to represent you. This is because lawyers have to specialize in one or two categories because it’s impossible to become a jack of all trades when it comes to the field of law.
Let’s take a look at the 2 broad categories of law.
Criminal law will basically deal with what can be considered as an act of causing intentional harm to an individual or his/her property. In most cases, these are acts that are generally socially unacceptable. It then becomes a criminal offence when a person deliberately or in deliberately though through recklessness causes some form of harm to someone else or their property. It will also be considered as a criminal offence when a duty bearer fails to honor his/her duty of protecting other people from harm.
Civil law will basically deal with what can be considered as a private dispute between parties, or what can be considered as an act of negligence that ends up causing harm to other parties. Civil cases can either involve an individual against another individual or an individual againsta company. Usually, the party that institutes the legal action is referred to as the applicant or plaintiff, whereas the respondent or defendant is the party that isfacing the legal action.
It’s important to note that criminal and civil cases have different standards of proof meaning that they will differ in the level of evidence that has to be produced in court in order to get to a guilty verdict for the accused person. In many jurisdictions, criminal and civil cases will also be heard in different courts.