Definition - What does Civil Law mean?
Civil law is an area of law that governs disputes between individuals or entities; it is found in the statutes and is derived from common law. Unlike criminal law, the emphasis of civil law is on resolving private disputes instead of punishing the offender. In the United States, civil law may also refer to the legal system prevalent in Europe based on written codes.
Justipedia explains Civil Law
Law that deals with resolving private disputes between individuals or entities in areas like breach of contract, defamation, debt recovery, negligence, causing injury, and property disputes is called civil law. It differs from criminal law in that its focus is resolving disputes between parties instead of punishing the accused. While a civil lawsuit is brought by a party alleging a wrongful act (plaintiff) done by others (defendant), criminal law cases are brought by the state.
The term civil law is sometimes also used to refer to the legal system prevalent in Europe, which finds its origin in ancient Roman law and is based on doctrines compiled by legal scholars. These doctrines are codified and all legal controversies are decided on the basis of this written code.