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Is Contract Law Civil Or Criminal?

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Contract law falls within civil law legislation and is subject to civil proceedings. Civil law proceedings comprise areas of law such as Family law, wills, contracts law, etc. Civil law involves people against people and looks to provide a remedy for individuals so they can enforce private rights against other individuals.

Criminal law on the other hand, is a set of regulations both enacted and enforced by government action. This is primarily why criminal cases are always the defendant versus the state which the offence occurred in. Contract law does not feature within criminal law. Criminal law deals with community justice against singular or collective victims of violence or harm.

Jameson law have a team of expert lawyer’s ready and willing to assist you with all your legal needs. They have trained and qualified criminal and civil lawyers who have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the inner working of criminal and civil law. Contact them today to schedule your first consultation with them.

What Is Contract Law?

Contract legislation can be explained as a promise or set of promises which is legally binding. In this context, the promise to either do or not do something is made on the condition that the other person or entity also do something in return, usually involving monetary compensation.

The area of contracts coincides with a variety of different areas of law including, corporate law, property law, private law, etc. Property law for example, involves the sale and transfer of property from one individual to another in exchange for monetary compensation. If either the seller or buyer does not abide by the conditions then the other can sue for breach of contract.

A further example may be an employment contract requiring remuneration reviews at certain times of the year. If the employer does not abide by the condition to conduct that review then the employee would have recourse under breach of contract. The employee would need to be able to prove that no internal review occurred without their knowledge.

A contract dispute will require the assistance of an expert contract or civil lawyer trained within that area of law. Breach of contract can be an expensive and a long process as it can nullify the contract. Civil law aims to provide a set of rules and guidelines for contracts so that people are protected from liability. All parties to a contract need to have recourse options if conditions are not upheld and there needs to be legal protections in place.

If a contract dispute needs to be litigated under civil law processes then a claim will need to be filed and evidence presented regarding the breach. A legal remedy also needs to be suggested. This remedy may be that the party seeks for the contract to be upheld or that they seek for it to be nullified so they are no longer bound by its conditions.

In some cases, a breach of contract may see a merge between civil and criminal law if the breach of contract involved illegal activity or created an illegal situation. You may then need to engage a team of criminal lawyers as well as a contract lawyer to assist. The Matters would be dealt with in separate courts with the contract dispute being heard in the civil court and the criminal matters being heard in either the Supreme Court or the Magistrate’s court depending on the severity.

In the case of international companies, there may even be a breach of international law to consider which will complicate things even more. International legislation looks at the relationship between different countries and the obligations they have to one another. It is a merging of worldwide legal principles from many different jurisdictions. It is a specialized area of law which governs unlawful interference between countries or states as they may be referred to.

Do Criminal Law and Civil Law intersect?

Criminal and civil law intersect in some criminal and civil cases. A civil claim may have criminal law elements or it may been born from some level of criminal activity. Likewise a civil claim or civil dispute may uncover illegal activity which will directly result in a criminal law dispute.

Criminal Law

Criminal law cases are breaches of the Criminal Code Act or any other legislative laws surrounding criminal law. There are different levels of criminal offending with federal criminal charges being among the highest. State criminal law offences are split into two categories; summary offences and indictable offences.

Summary offences are dealt with in the local court registry whereas indictable criminal offences are dealt with in the Supreme Court registry. The main difference between the two is that summary offences are dealt with by way of Magistrate whereas indictable offences are dealt with by way of trial by jury.

If you have been charged with a criminal law offence, you will need to engage a criminal defence lawyer or criminal solicitor to assist you with the process. A criminal defence lawyer will be able to advise you of the following;

  1. What way to plead
  2. What legal arguments you have
  3. Whether you are open to further prosecution?
  4. What evidence is required?

It is critical to take any charges or criminal cases seriously if they arise. Criminal offences carry significant penalties if found guilty. Most indictable criminal offences will carry terms of imprisonment.

Your criminal lawyer will need to be provided with all the necessary information in order to assist you with your matter. They will need to know whether you have committed a state criminal offence or commonwealth criminal offences and you will need to engage a lawyer who is an expert in the respective field.

Civil Law

Civil law looks to enforce private rights between individuals through civil proceedings. It covers a broad range of different areas of law. Civil law cases are usually highly emotional situations. Family court proceedings, in particular, child custody disputes, can be extremely emotional.

Civil cases or civil claim disputes are dealt with in civil courts . Similarly to criminal law, civil claims require parties to present evidence based on substantive law and then assess that evidence to determine an outcome. Unlike criminal law however, civil proceedings do not require lawyers to be involved. If you do require a lawyer to assist you, you need to make sure they can legally represent clients.

Civil cases do not rely on the core criminal principle of beyond a reasonable doubt. They do not involve trials by jury. Matters heard in the civil court room are subject to a singular judge.

Civil penalties are unlike criminal penalties in that they usually relate to fines, compensation or civil law orders. The presiding judicial officer is attempting to solve a dispute rather than impose a punishment which is the main difference between civil law and criminal law. Civil laws are far more administrative than other laws. There is not necessarily always a right and a wrong.

Is There A Difference In Cost?

Civil and criminal law are subject to different court costs, fees and general expenses. Civil law is usually a less expensive process than criminal law however not always. For example, the process of drafting, signing and implementing a contract would be considerably less than defending an entire criminal case. Not only would the time frame be shorter but the work involved would be less.

Some areas of civil law however can be costly such as family proceedings. Any matter which must go before the court will cost more than matters which do not. In some instances, you can also be required to pay the winning party’s legal costs if your matter is proven unfavourable.

This is less likely if dealing with a criminal case as the other party is the state however if found guilty you will need to pay court costs. In civil proceedings such as family proceedings however, you can be liable for thousands of dollars of fees.


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