Civil law refers to that system of law concerning private relationships between members of the community rather than criminal, military or religious matters. It can be termed as collection of rules defining and protecting the private rights of citizens, offering the legal remedies that can be sought. When someone does a bad thing but it is not illegal, it is called a tort or a civil wrong. These are disputes such as contractual disputes, real estate transactions, employment issues. The purpose of civil law is to resolve disputes and compensate a person injured by the act or behavior of another person. The case begins when a complaint is made by one party, which may be an individual, organization,corporation or a company, against another party. In civil cases including personal injury, the burden of proof is by a preponderance of an evidence, which means that there is more likelihood that something is true than that it is not true. The resolution of a case does not entail the imprisonment of the losing party.
Criminal law is the branch of substantive public law which defines crimes, deals with their nature and provides for their punishment. The purpose of criminal law is to prevent undesirable behavior and to punish those who commit an act deemed undesirable by society. The case is filed by the government, generally referred to as the state and represented by a prosecutor against an accused. The onus is on the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. A person found guilty is punished with an imprisonment, a fine or the death penalty for certain offenses.
If you bring an action against someone, you are the plaintiff and, like criminal law, the accused is the defendant. Criminal litigation is more grave than civil litigation. The defendants in criminal litigation has some more rights that are provided by the Constitution and which are not available to the defendant in civil litigation.