Law is a general system of rules that is applied within organizations or societies to govern the behavior amongst its members and relationships with other organizations or societies. However, law can be classified according to the issues or matters it addresses. Criminal law addresses matters concerning criminal offenses and punishment while civil law addresses issues relating to disputes between individuals or organizations.
Civil law is primarily concerned with private matters or those that do not fall under the scope of the government. Such concerns may involve disputes that require awarding of damages to an injured or harmed party. Civil law cases often involve lawsuits filed by a plaintiff in the hopes of being awarded by the court damages or some other form of restitution.
Cases that invoke civil law often deal with contract disputes, will probates, torts, property disputes, trusts, and other matters that deal with disputes between private entities and disputes between private entities and government agencies. The purpose of civil law is to provide an area for private entities to legally settle disputes, ensure the binding legality of agreements, or to right a certain wrong. If civil case involves a litigant who has been harmed or injured due to the action or inaction of the other litigant, the former may be entitled to compensation.
Civil law may be encompassed by common law and may encompass equity matters. It is also possible for civil law cases to overlap with criminal law cases wherein an individual may be accused of or charged with both civil and criminal offenses.