civil justice | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Civil justice refers to the legal system that resolves disputes between individuals or organizations, as opposed to criminal justice, which deals with offenses against the state.

Civil justice is a crucial component of the legal system and is focused on resolving disputes between individuals and organizations. This is in contrast to criminal justice, which is primarily concerned with punishing those who commit crimes against the state. Civil justice deals with a wide range of issues, such as property, personal injury, and civil rights. These disputes are resolved through various means, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation in court.

One important aspect of civil justice is the distinction between a plaintiff and a defendant. A plaintiff is a person or entity that initiates a lawsuit and seeks a remedy for an alleged harm or injury. The defendant, on the other hand, is the person or entity that is being sued and must respond to the allegations made by the plaintiff. In civil cases, it is up to the plaintiff to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that they must show that it is more likely than not that the defendant caused the harm.

The process of civil litigation can be complex and may involve many different steps. It often begins with the filing of a complaint, which sets out the plaintiff’s allegations and the legal basis for their claim. The defendant will then be served with a copy of the complaint and will have an opportunity to file an answer, which responds to the allegations and may raise additional defenses. The parties will then engage in discovery, which is a process of gathering evidence and information from each other. This may involve written requests for documents, depositions of witnesses, and other forms of investigation.

Once discovery is complete, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will hear evidence and make a determination as to whether the plaintiff’s claims are meritorious. If the plaintiff prevails, they may be awarded a remedy such as monetary damages, an injunction, or a declaratory judgment. However, even if the plaintiff is successful in court, they may still face challenges in enforcing their judgment, such as collecting a monetary award.

Overall, civil justice is a critical component of the legal system and plays an important role in protecting individual rights and resolving disputes between parties. While it can be a challenging and complex process, it provides a fair and orderly way to seek redress for harm or injury.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/07/2023


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