civil vs criminal


Dear Sir/Madam,

Why in India as well as many countries criminal court findings are not binding on civil litigations? especially the criminal cases dealing with negligence. In other words why there is a need to assess the negligence in civil court separately irrespective of findings of criminal court.

For example: if a person pleads guilty on the first day of hearing of a criminal case and pays fine on the same day to dispose the criminal case. But he takes completely different  (opposite) stand in the civil suit. The civil court also accepts his defense to investigate the matter further. 




mode of appriciation of evidence in civil case is propondanrance of probabilities lead by the parties whereas in criminal cases it the only the prosecution which has to prove its case beyong reasonable doubt



Mr. Sood,

The Q's above is slightly different.

How does a law permits or allows to take different stand in different courts?

Does it have to depend on the nature of the outcome of the case... 

In simple words:

It means if the criminal liability is only going to be couple of hundred Rs, but civil liability is going to amount to couple of lakhs for the same matter, then civil matter is to be viewed/investigated very differently. As the criminal liability is very small in such cases, general tendency is to dispose the case as quickly as possible, and nobody would like to have few years long criminal litigation to decide couple of hundred rupees fine. but in civil liability if they were asked to shell-out couple of lakhs rupees, then the court probably don't mind in having a litigation which would continue for few years... and in such cases criminal judgement or guilt plea would have hardly any value in deciding civil liability...



Some more findings on this topic on the web:

Richard Powell (1993). Law today. Harlow: Longman.

"Evidence given at a criminal trial is not necessarily admissible in a civil action about the same matter, just as evidence given in a civil cause is not necessarily admissible on a criminal trial. For example, the victim of a road accident does not directly benefit if the driver who injured him is found guilty of the crime of careless driving. He still has to prove his case in a civil action."




Ya the Criminal and civil proceedures stands in two stages. One is punitive and another declatory in nature. and cannot act as alternative to each other.

For Eg: in the Offence under 138 of the N.I. Act, even if there is a legaly enforciable debt exist between the accused and the Complainant, the complainant has to establish his case without any reasonable doubt,. He has to prove/establish his case by adducing the positive evidence the execution of the negotiable Instrument. So if he fail to do so, he will lose the case. But his legal right to recover the debt is still protected under civil court. Even if the criminal court acquit accused, the complainant can move to the Civil Court for the enforcement law.

So if any judgment of the Criminal Court act as resjudicata over a matter, it will put the law of justice in peril.





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