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Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits (as opposed to procedures in criminal law matters). These rules govern how a lawsuit or case may be commenced; what kind of service of process (if any) is required; the types of pleadings or statements of case, motions or applications, and orders allowed in civil cases; the timing and manner of depositions and discovery or disclosure; the conduct of trials; the process for judgment; various available remedies; and how the courts and clerks must function.

Contents

1 Differences between civil and criminal procedure 2 Civil procedural types 3 Civil procedure by country 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Differences between civil and criminal procedure[edit] Some systems, including the English and French, allow governmental persons to bring a criminal prosecution against another person. Prosecutions are nearly always started by the state in order to punish the accused. Civil actions, on the other hand, are started by private individuals, companies or organizations, for their own benefit. In addition, governments (or their subdivisions or agencies) may also be parties to civil actions. The cases are usually in different courts. However this is distinguished from civil penal actions. In jurisdictions based on English common-law systems, the party bringing a criminal charge (in most cases, the state) is called the "prosecution", but the party bringing most forms of civil action is the "plaintiff" or "claimant". In both kinds of action the other party is known as the "defendant". A criminal case against a person called Ms. Sanchez would be described as “The People v. (= "versus", "against" or "and") Sanchez,” "The State (or Commonwealth) v. Sanchez" or "[The name of the State] v. Sanchez" in the United States and “R. (Regina, that is, the Queen) v. Sanchez” in England
England
and Wales. But a civil action between Ms. Sanchez and a Mr. Smith would be “Sanchez v. Smith” if it were started by Sanchez, and “Smith v. Sanchez” if it were started by Mr. Smith (though the order of parties' names can change if the case is appealed).[1] Most countries make a clear distinction between civil and criminal procedure. For example, a criminal court may force a convicted defendant to pay a fine as punishment for his crime, and the legal costs of both the prosecution and defence. But the victim of the crime generally pursues his claim for compensation in a civil, not a criminal, action.[2] In France
France
and England, however, a victim of a crime may incidentally be awarded compensation by a criminal court judge. Evidence from a criminal trial is generally admissible as evidence in a civil action about the same matter. For example, the victim of a road accident does not directly benefit if the driver who injured him is found guilty of the crime of careless driving. He still has to prove his case in a civil action, unless the doctrine of collateral estoppel applies, as it does in most American jurisdictions.[2] In fact he may be able to prove his civil case even when the driver is found not guilty in the criminal trial, because the standard to determine guilt is higher than the standard to determine fault. However, if a driver is found by a civil jury not to have been negligent, a prosecutor may be estopped from charging him criminally. If the plaintiff has shown that the defendant is liable, the main remedy in a civil court is the amount of money, or "damages", which the defendant should pay to the plaintiff.[2] Alternative civil remedies include restitution or transfer of property, or an injunction to restrain or order certain actions. The standards of proof are higher in a criminal case than in a civil one, since the state does not wish to risk punishing an innocent person. In English law
English law
the prosecution must prove the guilt of a criminal “beyond reasonable doubt”; but the plaintiff in a civil action is required to prove his case “on the balance of probabilities”.[2] Thus, in a criminal case a crime cannot be proven if the person or persons judging it doubt the guilt of the suspect and have a reason (not just a feeling or intuition) for this doubt. But in a civil case, the court will weigh all the evidence and decide what is most probable. Civil procedural types[edit] Civil procedure is traditionally divided into inquisitorial and adversarial.[3] Civil procedure by country[edit]

Brazil Canada England
England
and Wales Germany India Netherlands Romania Scotland United States South Africa Uganda

See also[edit]

Affirmative defense Civil Justice
Justice
Fairness Act Criminal
Criminal
procedure Jurisdiction Laches Objection Prejudice (law) Statute
Statute
of limitations Summary judgment Time constraints Trial
Trial
de novo

References[edit]

^ Case citation#Supreme Court
Court
of the United States ^ a b c d Richard Powell (1993). Law
Law
today. Harlow: Longman. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-582-05635-0. OCLC 30075861.  ^ "Civil Procedure in Cross-Cultural Dialogue: Eurasia Context". ssrn.com. SSRN 2280682 .  Missing or empty url= (help); access-date= requires url= (help)

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Civil Procedure.

Civil Procedure Rules applying to England
England
and Wales Complete text of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Cornell Univ.) Rhode Island Civil Court
Court
Rules of Procedure - Optimized by a Constable from the law library at the 6th District Court
Court
of Rhode Island

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