What Is Civil Court?


Quick Answer

In a civil court, an individual or group charges a legal complaint against another individual or group, explains The Leadership Conference. Parties consist of private citizens, businesses and governments. There are no criminal charges in a civil court.

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Full Answer

The plaintiff, the party that levies the suit, seeks financial payment or an equitable action as relief in a civil court, according to The Leadership Conference. To prove guilt, the plaintiff must provide evidence, but sufficient evidence to show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the requirement in criminal cases, is not required.

Parties in a civil court case begin with serving a complaint against the defendant, states U.S. Courts. All plaintiffs and defendants in a civil court case must provide evidence through the discovery process, which often involves taking a written or visual account from a witness in a deposition. In civil court proceedings, parties have the option to seek a civil trial or another form of resolution, such as mediation or arbitration. The result of an alternate form of resolution in a civil case is a settlement. Either a judge or a jury decide a civil case during a trial. The judge in a civil court delivers jury instructions to educate members of the jury on legal aspects of the case.

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