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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; the process for post-trial procedures; various available remedies; and how the courts and clerks must function.
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, Latin for "Queen" but spoken as "The Crown") v. Sanchez” in England and Wales, amongst other Commonwealth realms. 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).
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.In 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.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.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 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”.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 procedure is traditionally divided into inquisitorial and adversarial.
In court proceedings, a defendant is a person or object who is the party either accused of committing a crime in criminal prosecution or against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case.
In law, interrogatories are a formal set of written questions propounded by one litigant and required to be answered by an adversary in order to clarify matters of fact and help to determine in advance what facts will be presented at any trial in the case.
In legal terms, a plea is simply an answer to a claim made by someone in a criminal case under common law using the adversarial system. Colloquially, a plea has come to mean the assertion by a defendant at arraignment, or otherwise in response to a criminal charge, whether that person pleaded or pled guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere, no case to answer, or Alford plea.
A plaintiff is the party who initiates a lawsuit before a court. By doing so, the plaintiff seeks a legal remedy. If this search is successful, the court will issue judgment in favor of the plaintiff and make the appropriate court order. "Plaintiff" is the term used in civil cases in most English-speaking jurisdictions, the notable exceptions being England and Wales, where a plaintiff has, since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in 1999, been known as a "claimant" and Scotland, where the party has always been known as the "pursuer". In criminal cases, the prosecutor brings the case against the defendant, but the key complaining party is often called the "complainant".
Criminal procedure is the adjudication process of the criminal law. While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge with the person on trial either being free on bail or incarcerated, and results in the conviction or acquittal of the defendant. Criminal procedure can be either in form of inquisitorial or adversarial criminal procedure.
Burden of proof is a legal duty that encompasses two connected but separate ideas that apply for establishing the truth of facts in a trial before tribunals in the United States: the "burden of production" and the "burden of persuasion." In a legal dispute, one party is initially presumed to be correct, while the other side bears the burden of producing evidence persuasive enough to establish the truth of facts needed to satisfy all the required legal elements of the dispute. There are varying types of burden of persuasion commonly referred to as standards of proof, and depending on the type of case, the standard of proof will be higher or lower. Burdens of persuasion and production may be of different standards for each party, in different phases of litigation. The burden of production is a minimal burden to produce at least enough evidence for the trier of fact to consider a disputed claim. After litigants have met the burden of production, they have the burden of persuasion: that enough evidence has been presented to persuade the trier of fact that their side is correct. There are different standards of persuasiveness ranging from a preponderance of the evidence, where there is just enough evidence to tip the balance, to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as in United States criminal courts.
A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil action brought by a plaintiff demands a legal or equitable remedy from a court. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment is in the plaintiff's favor, and a variety of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes.
An inquisitorial system is a legal system in which the court, or a part of the court, is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case. This is distinct from an adversarial system, in which the role of the court is primarily that of an impartial referee between the prosecution and the defense. Inquisitorial systems are used primarily in countries with civil legal systems, such as France and Italy, or legal systems based on Islamic law like Saudi Arabia, rather than in common law systems. It is the prevalent legal system in Continental Europe, Latin America, African countries not formerly under British rule, East Asia, Indochina, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Most countries with an inquisitorial system also have some form of civil code as their main source of law.
An affirmative defense to a civil lawsuit or criminal charge is a fact or set of facts other than those alleged by the plaintiff or prosecutor which, if proven by the defendant, defeats or mitigates the legal consequences of the defendant's otherwise unlawful conduct. In civil lawsuits, affirmative defenses include the statute of limitations, the statute of frauds, waiver, and other affirmative defenses such as, in the United States, those listed in Rule 8 (c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In criminal prosecutions, examples of affirmative defenses are self defense, insanity, entrapment and the statute of limitations.
In common law jurisdictions, an acquittal certifies that the accused is free from the charge of an offense, as far as the criminal law is concerned. The finality of an acquittal is dependent on the jurisdiction. In some countries, such as the United States, an acquittal operates to bar the retrial of the accused for the same offense, even if new evidence surfaces that further implicates the accused. The effect of an acquittal on criminal proceedings is the same whether it results from a jury verdict or results from the operation of some other rule that discharges the accused. In other countries, the prosecuting authority may appeal an acquittal similar to how a defendant may appeal a conviction.
The presumption of innocence is a legal principle that every person accused of any crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. Under the presumption of innocence, the legal burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which must present compelling evidence to the trier of fact. If the prosecution does not prove the charges true, then the person is acquitted of the charges. The prosecution must in most cases prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If reasonable doubt remains, the accused must be acquitted. The opposite system is a presumption of guilt.
A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law adversarial system or the civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the case in a criminal trial against an individual accused of breaking the law. Typically, the prosecutor represents the state or the government in the case brought against the accused person.
In United States law, a motion is a procedural device to bring a limited, contested issue before a court for decision. It is a request to the judge to make a decision about the case. Motions may be made at any point in administrative, criminal or civil proceedings, although that right is regulated by court rules which vary from place to place. The party requesting the motion may be called the moving party, or may simply be the movant. The party opposing the motion is the nonmoving party or nonmovant.
Beyond a reasonable doubt is a legal standard of proof required to validate a criminal conviction in most adversarial legal systems. It is a higher standard of proof than the balance of probabilities and is usually therefore reserved for criminal matters where what is at stake is considered more serious and therefore deserving of a higher threshold.
A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case is typically based on either civil or criminal law. In most legal cases there are one or more accusers and one or more defendants. In some instances, a legal case may occur between parties that are not in opposition, but require a legal ruling to formally establish some legal fact, such as a divorce.
Character evidence is a term used in the law of evidence to describe any testimony or document submitted for the purpose of proving that a person acted in a particular way on a particular occasion based on the character or disposition of that person. In the United States, Federal Rule of Evidence 404 maps out its permissible and prohibited uses in trials. Three factors typically determine the admissibility of character evidence:
In law, a trial is a coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court. The tribunal, which may occur before a judge, jury, or other designated trier of fact, aims to achieve a resolution to their dispute.
Actual innocence is a special standard of review in legal cases to prove that a charged defendant did not commit the crimes that they were accused of, which is often applied by appellate courts to prevent a miscarriage of justice.
The legal system of South Korea is a civil law system that has its basis in the Constitution of the Republic of Korea. The Court Organization Act, which was passed into law on 26 September 1949, officially created a three-tiered, independent judicial system. The revised Constitution of 1987 codified judicial independence in Article 103, which states that, "Judges rule independently according to their conscience and in conformity with the Constitution and the law." The 1987 rewrite also established the Constitutional Court, the first time that South Korea had an active body for constitutional review.
A citizen’s right to a trial by jury is a central feature of the United States Constitution. It is considered a fundamental principle of the American legal system.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article " Civil Procedure ".|