What is a Civil Court?
A civil court is the physical venue where civil matters are heard; all civil courts will attempt to find a resolution for cases involving non-criminal matters, such as divorce cases, child custody hearings, personal injury matters, and disputes involving landlords and tenants.
Additionally, a civil court will hear matters involving credit card payment disputes, breach of contract allegations and compensation for injuries suffered from automobile accidents. A lawsuit may be filed in a civil court system by any individual or business entity who feels as though they have been injured or hurt (financially or physically) by another individual or business entity.
Civil Court Functions:
The civil court system will provide a community a means to resolve their particular issues; disgruntled individuals or companies may seek a resolution by commencing litigation in the civil lawsuit. A matter in a civil court hearing is presided over by a judge; the judge in a typical civil court case acts as an unbiased adjudicator who will listen to both claims (made by the defense and prosecuting party) to deliver a resolution within the bounds of the particular legal matter.
Although the judge renders the decision, the parties have the right to seek a jury to help determine the outcome of their case; when a jury is selected in a civil trial, the jurors will listen to both parties and follow the same course of action as the judge when seeking the resolution. The majority of civil court systems throughout the nation will also employ retired attorneys, who will act as intermediaries to help facilitate the resolution process.
Types of Civil Court Systems:
The civil court system is not used to resolve criminal matters, nor should be used for disputes that can be resolved without the need of a court system or formal intervention. Filing a civil lawsuit is not free; any individual or business entity who files a civil lawsuit must pay a court filing fee and subsequently pay the coordinating sheriff a fee to process and serve the suit to the other party. Additionally, the cost of legal representation and the fees associated with securing evidence and witnesses can be considerable.
Civil court cases are never brought forward by the underlying state government; civil court cases are only brought by individuals or corporations. Additionally, a judge and jury does not determine innocence or guilt in a civil case as they do in criminal matters; the deciding bodies in a civil court case only rule in favor of a party for means of compensation or the delivery of a particular service. As a result, the defendants in a civil law case will never receive jail time as part of the jury/judge’s decision—incarceration is only permitted as a form of punishment in a criminal court case.