Both these branches of law differ in their basic goals and terminology. While civil law is aimed at solving disputes between individuals, organizations, or both; criminal law intends to maintain law and order in society by punishing criminals. In civil law, the aggrieved person is the plaintiff, who sues the defendant. The court delivers a judgment holding the defendant liable or not liable to pay damages to the plaintiff. In case of criminal law, the state prosecutes the accused, who is believed to have committed the crime. The court delivers a sentence, according to which the accused can be held guilty or not guilty of committing the offense.
So, the basic difference between civil and criminal law is about what they deal with, who initiates the legal action, the remedy sought, the burden of proof, protections available for the defendants, and penalty. Let us take a look at these factors in detail.