What is Civil Law?

Many people mistakenly associate the term “civil law” with the subject of civil war. This is actually a completely independent and separate subject for discussion. For more information on what the “civil” side of law, not affiliated with any type of war, is all about, read on for the scoop.

The Two Sides of Law

To understand this particular subject, you must first understand that all of the laws of the United States, in all of their variety and complexity, are actually distinctly divided into two, separate classifications. The first and primary classification of law is that of criminal law. Criminal law, a term first coined in 1672, is “the law of crimes and their punishments.” This means that societal happenings that are “criminal” in nature fall into this realm of law and are handled within as well. Criminal acts are those that are directly considered hurtful crimes such as stealing, assault, vandalism, trespassing, or kidnapping.

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The Civil Side of Law

Having covered one half of the United States legal system, the criminal side, we can now move on to the other half, the civil side. Civil matters of law are different from criminal matters in that they deal with reconciliation of financial and private, non-criminal matters. Straight from Merriam-Webster again, civil law, a term coined around the year 1500, is the law regarding “civil or private rights.” Civil wrongdoing is completely different from criminal wrongdoing and handled via orders to monetarily pay or abide by some other court ruling of civil nature as opposed to through criminal punishments designed to inflict pain or reconciliatory action.

Examples Therein

To further illustrate the exact types of happenings that fall into the civil aspect of United States laws, the following are some of the most common that you have likely heard of in the past.

  • Law suits, or civil suits asking for reconciliation via compensatory monies
  • Law suits asking for return of property
  • Law suits asking for an injunction, or an order from the court over a private matter
  • Law suits asking for other, various court interventions in private matters

Professionals of the Trade

Within the the civil realm of US laws, there are many critical professionals that also work daily in order to keep the system up and running for the benefit of all dependent on it. The following important positions are found at work at this judicial level.

  • Judges
  • Appellate Judges
  • Civil Attorneys
  • Stenographers
  • Court Reporters
  • Bailiffs
  • Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Officers
  • Constables
  • Record keeping Personnel
  • Legal Researchers
  • Administration Officials
  • Accounting Personnel
  • Human Resources Officers
  • Building Services Workers
  • Information Technology and Security Technology Workers
  • Prothonotaries and Notaries
  • And Many More

The civil side of law is a significant one. It represents one of the two faces of the justice and judicial systems of the United States of America. Herein, answers to troubling, private debates are provided via expert, legal remedy on a fair and level playing field. This piece serves as only a brief semblance of this vast field that is commonly known today as American civil law.