Difference between “Torts” and “Crime” (Explained with Example)

“All wrongs are not torts.” Tort is a civil wrong However; every civil wrong is not a tort. There is a lot of differences between a tort and a crime; between a tort and a breach of contract; between a tort and breach of trust; and between a tort and a quasi-contract. First let us see the differences between a tort and a crime, which are given hereunder:

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Torts

1. A tort is a species of a civil wrong; it gives rise to civil proceedings.

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2. In a tort, the plaintiff is the injured party.

3. A tort is violation of the private rights of an individual.

4. The wrong-doer is liable to pay compensation to the injured party.

5. The purpose of awarding compensation to the injured party is to make good the loss suffered by him.

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6. The nature of punishment is lighter, that too in the shape of awarding damages.

7. In tort, the intention is not important factor.

8. Mens rea has no place in tort.

9. The principles of “Injuria sine damnum”,

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“Damnum sign injuria”, “Vicarious Liability”,

“Respondent Superior”, “Absolute Liability”

“Precautionary Principle”, “Polluter Pays’

“Principle”, etc., are recognized in the Law of Torts.

10. Burden of proof lies on the complainant injured.

11. Natural Principles of Justice, good conscience, equality, etc., are followed in fixing the wrong­doer’s liability.

12. Most of the Law of Torts is judge-made-law, it is not codified.

13. It is the latest subject.

14. The offences under the torts do not involve any element of moral turpitude

The wrong-doers of torts are punished by way of damages for the better social welfare and efficiency.

Crimes

1. Crimes are those which result into punishment of the criminal.

2. In a crime, the victim is an individual. The criminal proceedings against the wrong-doer are instituted by the State.

3. A crime is a breach of public rights and duties which affect the whole community.

4. The wrong-doer is generally punished. Sometimes the fine is imposed. But that fine amount is credited into the State account.

5. The purpose of the criminal law is to protect the society by preventing and deterring the offender from committing further offences.

6. The nature of punishment is heavy and serious, in the shape of imprisonment.

7 In crime, mens rea (ill-intention) plays an important factor in determining the criminal liability.

8. Generally an act shall not be punished as a crime, unless there is mens rea actually present in the wrong-doer.

9. In majority criminal cases, these principles are not adopted in criminal law.

10. Burden of proof lies on the State. The injured becomes a witness only.

11. Strict rules of procedure and principles or followed in fixing the liability of the criminal.

12. All the crimes are defined and codified. Criminal Law is codified.

13. it was the oldest law

14. The offences defined under the criminal law are notorious for moral unscrupulousness. They are treated as morally depravated, aggravated heinous and dangerous to the individuals and also to the society.

“All civil wrongs are not torts.” A tort is a civil wrong. But all civil wrongs are not torts. Injunctions, specific restitution of property, and the payment of liquidated damages of money by way of penalty, etc.

Legal remedies are available to all civil wrongs. Whereas these legal remedies are not available in case of tort, in a tortious wrong, there are no liquidated damages. Only unliquidated damages are available to the injured persons.

Example:

The obstruction a public highway is a civil injury. The aggrieved party can institute civil proceedings, it is not a tort.

The obstruction of a public highway becomes as a tort in a special circumstance, i.e., special damage suffered by art individual. Then only he can claim for damages under tortious liability at his suit.