Civil vs Criminal violations

Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2004 12:45 pm
Wildflower63 wrote:
Would someone please answer my question in a form that all can understand. What, besides financial compensation, does Civil Court offer our citizens?

Broadly speaking, an American court can order two kinds of relief: legal and equitable.

Legal relief typically involves money damages. For instance, if I drop a piano on you and cause you to suffer $100,000 in medical expenses, the court can order me to pay you $100,000.

Equitable relief typically involves the court ordering someone to do or not do something. For instance, if I am operating a glue factory in your neighborhood, and the noxious fumes are interfering with your enjoyment of your own property, you can ask the court to issue an injunction that would force me to stop my factory operations. No money changes hands, but you are able to get relief from the court because your rights have been infringed.

Courts can also do a number of other things that don't involve monetary damages; for instance they can reform (re-write) contracts; resolve disputes over inheritances; determine land boundaries; grant divorces and resolve child custody matters; force a government official to perform a required act; etc. The common thread here is that the court's remedy is not primarily an award of money from one party to another, but an order to one party to do or to refrain from doing something.
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Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2004 06:23 pm
Thank you Joe! That was exactly what I wanted to know. It is good for people to have a general idea about this in terms everyone can understand. There are times when the court process needs to be utilized to protect violation of individual rights, especially when turned away by criminal court as I was.

Thank you much for clarifying this for me and other members. This is informative and I think people should be aware of the basics. Any problem that Civil Court can resolve obviously would require legal advice and/or representation with private consultation. I hope members see you post and find it informative.

Everyone should have a basic idea of how law, that apply to all of us, has to offer. I don't believe any of us are above the law and should have some idea how to utilize what our taxes have to offer if our rights are violated. Many of us find the ever changing law confusing, even lawyers! I do hope people can live their lives never having to utilize Civil Court. I found it extremely stressful.

I didn't realize divorce and custody matters were among Civil Court. It does make sense that it would, but how separate are these types of issues and are, or should judges be separated in courts from domestic matters in order for continuity and expertise?

I guess we have all heard the term Divorce Court. Being another ignorant person of law, I did not realize this was the same court at all. Is this a laymen term or a branch of Civil Court or is it the exact same court that settles domestic matters? I know, another stupid question, but domestic issues apply to so many of us. Is there a difference in branch or does all go to Civil Court?
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