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These Things Can Lead You To Prison If You Can Not Differenciate It


It has been noticed that the average layperson misapplies and conflates civil and criminal law principles. Because of journalistic reporting of well-known criminal trials, criminal law is far more well-known than civil law, causing most non-lawyers to mix up terms and principles from both.

Civil and criminal law are two distinct bodies of law that have independent and distinct sorts of laws and punishments. Criminal law is the body of law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of offenders, whereas civil law deals with disputes between persons, organizations, or both, and compensation is provided to the victim.

The distinctions between criminal and civil law are numerous. However, there are several significant differences:


The parties who initiate the action are a major distinction between civil and criminal law (the person who takes the defendant to court).

In civil law, private individuals, businesses, or government organizations bring the defendant to court to seek remedy. The "Plaintiff" is the individual who files the lawsuit.

In criminal law, the government is always the one who brings the case to court. The "Prosecution" is their name.


The punishment involved is one of the major distinctions between civil and criminal law.

In criminal law, a defendant who is found guilty by the court is sentenced to prison or must pay a monetary fee to the government. When the crime charged is serious enough, the punishment may include the death penalty. The Nigerian Criminal Code divides offenses into three categories: felonies, misdemeanors, and simple offenses. The severity of the punishment for the offense is determined by the categorization. A felony, according to the Criminal Code, is an offense that is punishable by death or imprisonment for three years or more without a prior conviction. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime that carries a sentence of not less than six months but not more than three years in prison. Other than felonies and misdemeanors, all other offenses are minor charges punishable by less than six months in prison.

A defendant in civil law is never imprisoned or executed. A losing defendant must only compensate the plaintiff or whoever brought the civil case for any losses or damages incurred as a result of the defendant's actions.


The term "burden of evidence" simply refers to a party's obligation to establish or refute a disputed fact in a court proceeding. A party in a trial has the obligation to present evidence that will shift the presumption against him to his favor.

The burden of proof is always on the State in criminal cases (government). The State is required to prove the defendant's guilt. The Federal Republic of Nigeria's Constitution provides that everyone charged is "Innocent Until Proven Guilty." With a few exceptions, the defendant is presumed innocent and does not need to prove anything. When the defendant claims self-defense, this is an exemption. In such a case, the defendant bears the burden of proof in proving that it was self-defense.

The plaintiff has the initial burden of proof in civil action (the person who brought the case to court). However, there are several circumstances in which the burden of proof is shifted to the defendant. When the plaintiff has established a prima facie case (i.e., he has shown enough evidence to support his claim), the burden of proof shifts to the defense to refute the plaintiff's evidence.

Although there are many more distinctions between civil and criminal law, the ones listed above are the most significant.

Content created and supplied by: THENEWSAFRICA/EUROPE (via Opera News )


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