We all are quite familiar with the word ‘crime’, as we have seen, read, heard or experienced it at some point in our lives. There are some acts which are considered as a crime in all the countries of the world, while there are specific acts which are regarded as a crime, in a particular state only. In simple words, any act which is against the law is termed as a crime.
Crime is often contrasted with torts. Many of us are aware of what a tort is or which act is regarded as a tortious act, but there are many who still have no idea about it. So, tort occurs when the private rights of an individual are being violated. When damages caused to a person due to a wrongful act done by someone else, the injured person has the right to file a suit, to claim damages, under tort law.
Tort law address and redress issues relating to a civil wrong. Further, the commission of a tortious act means a violation of civil law. Conversely, Crime is when the public rights are violated and that is why the act is considered as against society. Now we will discuss all the differences between tort and crime.
Content: Tort Vs Crime
|Basis for Comparison||Tort||Crime|
|Meaning||Tort implies a wrongful act causing injury or harm for which recovery is sought by the aggrieved party as per civil law, from the person who is responsible for the act.||Crime refers to an offence or wrong or illegal act for which the person conducting it, will be punished under the court of law.|
|Nature of law||Uncodified||Codified|
|Involves||Infringement of individual rights.||Violation of public rights.|
|Court||The defendant will be sued in civil court.||The defendant will be prosecuted in criminal court.|
|Objective||To protects the rights of a person.||To maintain law and order in society and prevention against crime and punish the wrongdoer.|
|Remedy||On being liable the defendant has to pay damages/compensation decided by the court.||On being guilty of the offence, the defendant will be sentenced.|
|Standard of Proof||Balance of Probabilities, also known as Preponderance of Evidence||Beyond Reasonable Doubt|
|Burden of Proof||Rests with the claimant||Rests with the prosecution|
Definition of Tort
A tort can be defined as a civil wrong, due to which the claimant unfairly suffers injury or harm leading to legal liability to the person who is responsible for the tortious act. The person who commits the wrongful act is known as tortfeasor or defendant, whereas the one who suffers the loss is regarded as a plaintiff or injured party. The lawsuit filed against the wrongful act is called tort action.
In tort law, the legal suit is filed by the claimant with the aim of obtaining private civil remedy, i.e. damages for the loss suffered. Injury refers to infringement of the legal right of person and harm implies loss or damage which a person suffers.
Usually, every suit which is brought to the civil court, except contractual suit, is dealt under tort law. The law is made to redress the wrongful act done to a person by another person and acts as a countermeasure, to provide relief from such acts of other, by imposing monetary liability on the tortfeasor, as compensation.
Tort law is a law which legally refrains people from causing harm or injury to others. However, if harm is done, it ensures restoration of damages through compensation, not because of an agreement between the parties concerned but due to the implication of general law. So, we can say that tort shifts the burden of loss sustained by the claimant to the defendant, i.e. the one who is responsible.
Negligence, injury, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, are some of the common examples of tort.
Definition of Crime
Crime refers to the commission or omission of an act, intentionally which amounts to an offence, as it is harmful or threatening. Such an act is explicitly defined, strictly prohibited and punishable under the criminal code. The punishment will be in the form of imprisonment or fine or both.
In other words, crime is an unlawful, illegal or antisocial act, which is not just forbidden by law but also defies the moral sentiments of the society. Basically, which act or behaviour is referred to as ‘crime’ lies on the jurisdiction where a person resides.
First of all, the police are informed about the crime, who then investigates the matter by communicating with the people who witnessed it and the victim as well. The place where the crime took place is also inspected thoroughly to find evidence and facts of the crime.
Once police obtain enough evidence concerning the crime, the search for the suspect starts and whenever or wherever the suspect is found, he/she is arrested and presented to the court for prosecution.
Key Differences Between Tort and Crime
The points of difference between tort and crime are given here in detail:
- Tort refers to a wrongful act done by one person against another, causing injury or harm and results in a civil wrong for which legal liability is imposed by the court. On the other hand, Crime can be understood as any act or omission which results in a violation of the law and attracts punishment, such as fine or imprisonment or both. A criminal act is not against a person but society as a whole.
- The law for torts is uncodified, whereas every country has a criminal code for crimes. The compensation decided by the court for the defendant in case of tort depends on the measures of wrong and loss caused to the claimant. However, the punishment for the crimes is laid down specifically. Therefore, for every particular crime of which an individual is accused, there is a specific charge, which is tried separately in criminal court.
- Tort involves infringement of an individual’s rights, whereas a crime is concerned with a violation of public rights, which affects the entire society.
- In the case of tort, the defendant or the tortfeasor is sued in the civil court. Further, it is up to the aggrieved party only whether he/she wants to take the matter to the court or not. In contrast, Criminal offences i.e. crimes are tried under criminal law and prosecuted by the state.
- The primary aim of tort law is to provide relief to the injured party, for the loss suffered due to other party and also protect the rights of a person. As against, the criminal law aims at maintaining law and order in the society and providing prevention against crime and punishing the wrongdoer.
- In tort law, when the defendant is proven liable, the defendant has to compensate the injured party for the damages or restitute, whatever is stolen or seized. On the contrary, when the accused is found guilty for the act, he/she is sentenced, i.e. a punishment is assigned by the court.
- The standard of proof in case of tort is the balance of probabilities or preponderance of the evidence, which means that whichever party’s claims are more probable to be true, will form the basis for the decision. As opposed, when there are criminal charges against a person, the legal standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, which means that there should be sufficient evidence to remove any reasonable doubt that might arise in the minds of any person that the accused is guilty of the crime.
- In the case of tort, the burden of proof lies with the claimant, i.e. the injured party who initiated the case. However, in the case of crime, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution due to the presumption of innocence.
In a nutshell, torts are often accidental or unintentional, but due to negligence, the injury takes place, which needs to be compensated or restituted. However, torts can be intentional, but only in some cases. On the contrary, crimes are deliberate and planned wrongful act undertaken with the intention to harm or threaten others to get some unlawful benefit.