What is Civil Litigation?Now that I've shared some general tips with you regarding how to respond to a lawsuit, I thought I would expand more on Civil Law as a category, as I did recently with Family Law.

I've already told you that Civil Law is basically everything that is not criminal law, but here are some more concrete examples. All of the following are issues that fall within the broader category civil law, and might present the opportunity for a civil lawsuit:

  • Breach of Contract--regardless of the issue of the original agreement or the reason for the failure to perform, a breach of contract is a civil law matter.
  • Fraud--while there may also be a criminal cause of action for fraudulent behavior, certain areas of civil law provide additional causes of action for fraud.
  • Real Estate conflicts--this can include anything from an argument over the placing of a fence to nondisclosed toxic waste deposits or vermin infestations.
  • Defective consumer products--anything from an exploding toaster to a "bad drug" or lemon.
  • Nuisance-- if you have a noisy neighbor or live next to a company that discharges pollutants into the air or water, you might be dealing with this area of the law.
  • Landlord Tenant disputes-- whether you have a tenant who isn't paying rent or a landlord who isn't maintaining the rental property, we are talking about a civil matter. No pun intended.
  • Personal injury-- this is probably the most stereotypical manifestation of civil law: the defendant injures the plaintiff in some capacity, and the plaintiff sues under negligence, or some other relevant legal theory.
  • Worker's compensation and employment related claims--while administrative law may come into play, particularly in regards to exhausting legislative remedies, worker's compensation and other employment law matters are civil in nature.
  • Family law--family law is a civil matter, but legislatures generally recognize the need for an entirely separate court system and accompanying protocols and procedures.

Additionally, a civil matter may sometimes invoke both state and federal claims, depending on the relevant jurisdiction and facts of the case.

Alternatively, there may be a criminal claim in addition to a civil one based on the same facts. For example, in cases of physical injury, a person may be able to sue the person who maliciously attacked them in addition to having the person charged under the criminal law process.

You can find out more about your criminal law area of interest on LawInfo's definition page, which is filled with information on numerous legal topics. Click here to find a Civil Law Attorney.