Generally, civil litigation is the branch of law that deals with disputes between private parties (individuals, organizations, companies and even governmental bodies). When one party believes that they have been wronged, they can seek a remedy through civil litigation. Examples of disputes addressed through civil litigation include contract breaches, business disputes, defamation, personal injury cases, disputes before tribunals, cases involving negligence etc. When you "sue" or are "sued", your dispute will be resolved through the civil litigation process.

Unlike criminal law where the State prosecutes a party for alleged wrongdoing, civil litigation is typically initiated through a lawsuit filed with the courts or proceedings before administrative tribunals (e.g. the Canada Labour Board). Civil litigation can provide many types of remedies including monetary damages and injunctions (a court order preventing a party from doing something). Unless the matter has a criminal law component, imprisonment is not a possible outcome of civil litigation.

 

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