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Civil Law VS Criminal Law: Differences, Eligibility, Career Options

Aindrila
AindrilaUpdated On: September 13, 2022 11:52 am IST | CLAT

Law aspirants often tend to get confused between pursuing Civil Law courses and Criminal Law courses. Be it the career aspect or the handling of cases, both the fields are significantly different from each other. Let's take a closer look at both here.

Career in Civil Law Vs Career in Criminal Law

A career as a Lawyer is one of the most celebrated careers in India as well as abroad. Getting into a Law school to pursue L.L.B. (Bachelor of Law), B.A. L.L.B. (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law) or L.L.M. (Master of Law) could be a daunting experience. For this, students look for the Top Law Colleges in India such as the National Law Universities. There are indeed a lot of challenges in pursuing Law and selecting the perfect law school could take a lot of your time. After going through the entrance exams and the entire selection process, you would begin your journey in the world of law.

While shortlisting Law colleges and Law courses in India, there are many questions that can create confusion in your mind. So, it is always important to clear out your doubts on topics like Civil Law VS Criminal Law, NLU.s VS Non-NLU.s, Corporate Lawyer VS Practising Lawyer, LLB VS JD Degree, LLB VS BA.LLB Degree, JD VS LLM Degree, etc. So, dive in and clear your doubts about Civil and Criminal Law and know which one is better for you.

What is Civil Law?

The Civil Law consists of relations among members of a community, a body of rules, regulations judicial precedents and procedures to help resolve non-criminal disputes. The core functions of the Civil Law include resolving disputes and disagreements between organisations or families by offering equitable and due compensations to the party including a victim. In Criminal Law, the accused is given punishment to provide justice to the victims, whereas in Civil Law, the victims are provided compensation.

Civil Law cases include custody disputes, bankruptcy, defamation, breach of contract, property dispute, etc.

What is Criminal Law?

Criminal Law is the system of law which relates to crime. It governs crimes that include misdemeanours and felonies. The Criminal Law forbids conduct that is as harmful, threatening or endangering to the safety, moral welfare, health and property of people. Anyone who commits a felony by violating the laws is punished and/or rehabilitated as per the Criminal Law. Criminal Law differs from Civil Law in many ways. From punishment to the burden of proof, the trials of both laws are conducted differently. Criminal Law cases include homicide, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, assault, possession of controlled substance, etc.

Civil Law Vs Criminal Law Courses in India

The variety of law courses found in India would give you a plethora of options to choose from. Not only are there undergraduate and postgraduate degrees but also certificate courses offered at the law schools of India.

Civil Law Courses in India

Criminal Law Courses in India

Labour Law

Criminal Litigation

Family Law

Trial Advocacy

International Law

Criminal Justice

Intellectual Property Law

Legal Studies

Eligibility Criteria for Civil Law

To pursue a career as a Civil Lawyer, you must study Civil Law and for that, you will have to meet the eligibility criteria to study Civil Law. here are the requirements that you are required to fulfil to be classified as an eligible candidate.

  • In India, there is no option to choose a major in an undergraduate law degree. So, in order to pursue a Master of Law (LL.M) degree in Civil Law, you must hold a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) degree.
  • The LL.B degree must have been awarded from a recognised university or institute.
  • The entrance examination and score requirements for LL.M in Civil Law depends on the law school you are applying for.
  • For some law schools, an interview or group discussion could be a part of the selection process.

Also Read:Career Option With a BA LLB Degree

Eligibility Criteria for Criminal Law

Meeting the eligibility criteria of a programme means that you have all the aspects that define your relevance to pursue that programme. Same as the Civil Law courses, you are required to meet the eligibility criteria for Criminal Law that are mentioned below.

  • You must hold either a five-year-long integrated degree the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law (B.A.L.L.B.) or a three-year-long Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.) degree.

  • The bachelor’s degree from a recognised university is preferred.

  • Depending on the university or law school you are applying for, the minimum requirement could vary from 55 per cent to 85-87 per cent.

  • In some law schools, you might be required to have some relevant work experience to pursue L.L.M. in Criminal Law.

  • Your eligibility and aptness for the courses and field will also be assessed in an interview or group discussion round.

Admission Process for Civil and Criminal Law in India

Before you begin your quest to get into a law school to pursue L.L.M. in Civil law or L.L.M. Criminal Law, you must be well aware of the admission process. The admission process for Criminal Law or Civil Law begins with checking the eligibility criteria for final enrollment to the intended programme. During the whole procedure, you will have to apply for entrance exams, apply for the law school/s of your preference, go through all the steps involved in the selection process including interview and group discussion round and finally, enrol yourself on the course and college of your choice.

Here are some of the major law entrance exams in India that are conducted for admission to Civil and Criminal Law courses.

Civil Vs Criminal Law: Case Types

The cases that Criminal and Civil law handle are different with respect to how the cases 

are created (whoever bring charges or file suit), how the cases are selected (by a jury or a judge), what are the punishments or penalty that can be imposed, what proofs are to be met, and the legal protections available to the defendant. Let’s take a look at the types of cases solved by Criminal law and Civil law:

Common Case Types in Civil Law

The common case types solved in Civil Law are:

  • Contract Dispute: Contract dispute occurs when the people involved in the contract either make dispute with the original contract or the person who need to follow the contract does not fulfil something till the end of the contract. 
  • Torts: When a person breaks the law, or statute or blocks some other person’s ability to use their rights is known as a Tort. Some examples of Torts are assault, trespass, negligence, defamation and battery.
  • Divorce: Divorce is an easy term in today’s time as the people involved in a marriage decide to no longer continue the marriage. The person filing the divorce is considered a plaintiff while the other person is considered to be the defendant. 
  • Class Action Cases: This type of case involves people in multiple numbers who are filing a case as a group against an entity that caused them harm. These cases mostly involve private citizens suing a company, also the defendant can be the government or government entity. 
  • Equitable Claims: Cases like Equitable claims involve not only money. In this type of case, the judge may choose a defendant who can take future action. 

Common Case Types in Criminal Law

Some of the common case types in Criminal law are:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Public intoxication
  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism
  • White collar crimes

Top Civil Law Colleges in India

If your thinking of studying Civil Law in India, the first thing you must have searched for is top colleges for Civil Law in India. So, we have compiled a list of best Civil Law colleges in India that you can refer to for application and admission.

National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU)

Karnavati University (KU ), Gandhinagar

NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad (NALSAR -Hyderabad)

Shyam Institute of Engineering & Technology (SIET), Dausa

NLIU (National Law Institute University), Bhopal

Mansarovar Global University (MGU)

Sinhgad Law College, Pune

Guru Kashi University (GKU), Bathinda

Symbiosis Law School, Pune (SLS)

Government Law College, Mumbai (GLC)

CT University (CTU), Ludhiana

University College of Law, Hyderabad (Osmania University)

The Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala (RGNUL)

Parul University, Gujarat

Also Read:LSAT Abroad VS LSAT India

Top Criminal Law Colleges in India

Go through the list of top 10 Criminal Law colleges in India. You can click on the college names to get more information regarding their admission process, courses offered and more.

NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad (NALSAR - Hyderabad )

Jindal Global Law School

Lovely Professional University (LPU)

Adamas University, Kolkata

Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University (TNDALU)

Vivekananda Global University (VGU), Jaipur

Symbiosis Law School, Pune (SLS)

Raffles University (RU ), Neemrana

The ICFAI University, Himachal Pradesh, Baddi

NIMS University (NIMS Jaipur), Jaipur

Alliance School of Law, Alliance University

IIMT University, Meerut

University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun

Apex University, Jaipur

Amity University, Lucknow

Guru Kashi University (GKU), Bathinda

Tips for Deciding Between Civil Law or Criminal Law

Before taking up Civil law or Criminal law, you must know that the work done by these lawyers are different starting from the types of cases to the types of clients that they represent. The factors below will help you choose between civil and criminal law.

  • Decide the types of cases you want to take up or are interested in. There are so many types of cases, that it becomes difficult to choose a speciality. So, the candidates must take a speciality according to the subjects they are interested in.
  • Choose the types of clients you want to represent. The type of law you practice will decide the types of clients you will work for. Civil lawyers represent private people or companies and corporations, and criminal lawyers either represent or charge people who are accused of committing crimes.
  • Go through the program requirements for both the law types and then decide based on the curriculum, requirements, etc. Each law school might have a unique program that one needs to enter one of these fields. Take time to check the coursework, needs for careers in each and length of education to assure you can fulfil the educational needs to entering these legal fields.
  • You must talk to lawyers in similar fields to get an idea of what the courses have to offer. It can be helpful to talk to professional lawyers in different fields to see what they like and dislike about their roles. Reach out to lawyers that specialize in different areas of civil law, such as personal injury, divorce, contract or corporate law, along with those that specialize in different areas of criminal law, both prosecutors and defence lawyers. 

To find the best Law college for yourself, fill our Common Application Form (CAF). Through CAF, you get the opportunity to apply to multiple colleges and you will also get counselling from our admissions experts. You can also call on the toll-free student helpline number 1800-572-9877.

All the best for your future endeavours! Stay tuned to CollegeDekho for more content in the field of Law.

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FAQs

What are some of the top Civil and Criminal law colleges/institutions in India?

Civil and Criminal law are some of the most popular law specialisations that students are studying these days. The top colleges for studying these two courses are Parul University Gujarat, NALSAR, Jindal Global law school, NLSIU, Amity University Lucknow, CT University Ludhiana, NLIU Bhopal, NIMS University Jaipur, IIMT University Meerut, Alliance School of Law, Alliance University. 

What subjects are taught in Civil law UG level?

Candidates who are interested in studying Civil law must know the subjects taught at the UG level and they are Crime, Jurisprudence, Code of criminal procedure, Co-operative law, Legal writing, Family laws 1, Law of Contracts, Conflict of Laws, Law of Evidence, Women & law, Law of taxation, Property Law including the transfer of Property Act, Civil Procedure Code (CPC), Administrative law, Banking law including the Negotiable Instruments Act, etc.

What subjects do I have to study in Criminal law?

Candidates while doing their BA LL.B (Hons.) in Criminal Law need to study General English, Political Science I, Legal Language & Legal Writing, Business Economics - I (Micro), Law of Contracts I, Torts & Consumer Protection Law, Law of Crimes (IPC), Client Counselling, Criminal Drafting, Human Rights & International Law, Environmental Law, Criminal Psychology (Hons-1), Taxation Law, Private International Law, Drafting Conveyance, Civil Procedure Code & Law of Limitation, etc.

What are the job profiles after studying Civil law?

After having completed a degree in Civil law, candidates can work in different fields of law in India. Some of the important job profiles are Family lawyer, Intellectual property lawyer and Divorce lawyer. A family lawyer handles cases related to family issues like alimony, child custody, abuse, etc. Whereas an Intellectual property lawyer deals with cases that are related to copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc. Lastly, a divorce lawyer is someone who deals with cases related to problems among spouses, resolving child custody and division of assets.

What are the Diploma and Certificate courses offered in Criminal law?

Other than UG and PG degrees, candidates can also opt for Certificate and Diploma courses in Criminal law. One of the certificate programmes is a Certificate in Criminal Litigation and Trial Advocacy and the subjects taught in this programme are Career Opportunity & Emerging Area in Criminal Litigation, Working of the Criminal Justice System, Criminal Drafting, Case Management, and Building your Practice. 

Another such course is Post Graduate Diploma in Criminal Justice where candidates have to study Justice System, Indian Penal Code, Criminal Justice Processes, Criminal Justice Administration, Challenges to Criminal Justice System, and Criminal Justice Research and Advocacy

Who are the top recruiters of Civil law?

As Civil law is in high demand, there are lots of recruiters who hire candidates having a degree in Civil law. The top recruiters are Luthra & Luthra, AZB & Partners, Trilegal, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, Desai & Diwanji, Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co, Nishith Desai Associates, S & R Associates, Wadia Ghandy & Co., J Sagar Associates, Anand and Anand, Talwar Thakore & Associates, Economic Laws Practice, and many more. 

What is the career scope of Criminal law?

There is a huge demand for candidates who have studied Criminal law after looking at the current situation and the need for reforms in criminal laws and justice. There are many top Criminal lawyers who have earned a good name and charge high fees for fighting criminal cases. Candidates after completing their integrated undergraduate level degree in Criminal law can think of pursuing a postgraduate level course in the same specialisation or start working as a Criminal lawyer or a Legal advisor.

What are the different branches of Civil law?

With the help of Civil law, different non-criminal disputes can be resolved with proper procedures, different sets of rules, regulations and judicial precedents. Though the dispute can vary from organisational, family to personal. The different branches of Civil law are Securities law, Media law, Labour law, Taxation law, IPR and Patent law, Tax management and Administration, Business law, Industrial law, Labour practice, Taxation practice, Patent law and practice and Patent law.

What are the skills required for Criminal Law?

Criminal law is one of the most popular law specialisations. So, to study criminal law, candidates need to be bold and confident. The skills required for Criminal law are the ability to work in a team, good at reading charts & graphs, good at analysing public policies impacting criminal justice, good observational skills, problem-solving ability, good writing capability, interest in detail, fluency and clarity of speech, good convincing power, mental and physical energy, good decision-making skills, etc.

What are the four types of Civil Law?

Civil law deals with disagreements between people, organizations, or between the two, in which settlement is awarded to the victim. The four important types of Civil law that lawyers mostly deal with are contracts, property, family relations and civil wrongs causing physical injury or injury to property (tort). Civil Law is one of the most important components of law for every citizen of the country.

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