Differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law

Last updated on December 7, 2023


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Swipe -> to learn more about the differences between civil law and criminal law! ? – In the image about civil law, it’s mentioned that cases are proven based on a “balance of probabilities”. In other words, one party’s claims just have to be more likely to be true, rather than not. ? This is a much lower standard than that required in criminal cases, as the accused must be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. ? – It’s also important to remember that the police don’t get involved in civil cases. ?‍♂️? It’s for this reason that the police will decline to help you for civil matters, and suggest that you approach a lawyer instead. – There’s still a lot more to the law apart from what we’ve covered in this post so keep following us as we share more about the law with you! ? And if you ever need to find a lawyer, there’s always the link in our bio ?#SingaporeLegalAdvice

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Generally speaking, the criminal law is concerned with offences of public interest. Hence, for criminal cases, offenders are usually charged in the name of the public prosecutor, who represents the state. The major statute that concerns the criminal law in Singapore is the Penal Code. If found guilty, offenders can be subject to fines, caning and/or jail time. Most of the cases that we see in the news about theft, outrage of modesty, murder, etc fall under criminal law.

Civil law, as we understand it in common law countries, refers to private law, which is concerned with private disputes between individual parties. The police do not get involved.

Civil law includes several areas of law, among them contract law and tort law. It is mainly used to claim compensation for harm, loss or injury to the person or to property. For example, if you have a dispute with your landlord or your supplier, that generally falls under civil law.

The standard of proof for criminal cases and civil cases is different. For criminal cases, the standard of proof is much higher and the prosecution must prove that accused is guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”. For civil cases, the case only has to be proved “on the balance of probabilities”, i.e. that it is more probable than not. For further reading on the standard of proof, please refer to our article on the burden of proof.

Before Making a Claim
  1. Drafting an Enforceable Settlement Agreement in Singapore
  2. Should I Make A Police Report or Should I Sue?
  3. Differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law
  4. Should You Sue? 8 Things to Think About Before Suing
  5. How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter in Singapore
  6. Limitation Periods: What's the Deadline for Suing in Singapore?
  7. What to Do If Someone Sues Your Singapore Business
  8. Arbitration and Mediation: When They Can be Useful for Business Disputes
  9. Can I Sue a Foreigner or Foreign Company in Singapore?
  10. Mediation in Singapore
  11. Arbitration: When and How to Arbitrate Business Disputes in Singapore
  12. Third-Party Funding for Litigation in Singapore
  13. Using Neutral Evaluation to Resolve Civil Disputes in Singapore
Making a Claim - The Beginning of a Dispute
  1. What is a Breach of Confidence and How to Prove It
  2. Victim of a Wire Fraud? Here’s What You Can Do
  3. How to File an Originating Claim in a Singapore Lawsuit
  4. How to Bring a Class-Action Lawsuit in Singapore
  5. Letters of Demand and Their Usages in Singapore
  6. Law on Writ of Summons in Singapore
  7. Received a "Without Prejudice" Letter? Here’s What It Means
  8. What if I Cannot Find the Party I Want to Sue?
  9. Filing a Claim with the Small Claims Tribunals in Singapore
  10. First Meeting With Your Business Dispute Lawyer: What to Expect
  11. Negotiating a Settlement in a Business Dispute
  12. Security of Payment Act: Claiming Progress Payments for Construction Work Done
  13. Engaging a Queen’s Counsel or King's Counsel in Singapore
The Litigation Process
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  2. Wasting the Court’s Time and Resources: Legal Consequences
  3. Natural Justice Explained: Your Right to a Fair & Unbiased Hearing
  4. Civil Litigation: How to Sue in Singapore (Step-by-Step Guide)
  5. Originating Application: What It Is and How to File in Singapore
  6. Notice of Intention to Contest or Not Contest: What is It?
  7. Affidavits in Singapore: What Are They & How to Prepare One
  8. Default Judgments and Summary Judgments in Singapore
Matters relating to Witnesses and Evidence
  1. Can My Minor Child be Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness?
  2. Giving Evidence via Video Link in a Singapore Lawsuit
  3. Prima Facie: What Does It Mean and How to Establish
  4. Hearsay Evidence: Admissibility and Objection of It in Singapore
  5. Admissibility of Evidence in the Singapore Courts
  6. Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness in Singapore: What You Need to Do
  7. Who is an Expert Witness and How to Use Expert Evidence in Singapore
  8. Destroying and Tampering With Evidence in Singapore
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Remedies Available for Civil Litigation
  1. Types of Injunctions in Singapore
  2. Specific Performance: Obtaining this Equitable Remedy in Singapore
  3. Judicial Review in Singapore: What is It and How to Apply
After the Lawsuit
  1. After the Lawsuit: Who Has to Pay Whom, and How Much?
  2. Enforcement of Court Judgments and Orders in Singapore
  3. How to Get an Order for Seizure and Sale to Enforce a Judgment