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Civil law in Australia

3 min read

Civil law deals with regulations of private conduct between organisations, individuals and government agencies. Civil laws are found in common law instead of statute law. As civil law deals with relationships between parties, there will be contracts involved, which are agreements between the participants that have set out the legal relationships between those participants. This can be in everyday, ordinary dealings like entering into such agreements by clicking ‘I agree’ to the terms and conditions or by taking a ticket in the car parking lot.

Civil law is about the relationship between people in society, which is why civil law cases mostly involve disputes that are between people, often about certain dealings with each other. An example of a civil law case would include a trade mark lawyer arguing trade mark disputes.

An organisation, or people who believe that another person or organisation is in breach of the terms or conditions, can bring a civil claim to court, often known as suing for damages.

An organisation or individual who makes a claim is called the plaintiff. The person who the complaint is against is called the respondent.

Civil disputes can often gain a solution in the court, or in a tribunal that is set up to deal with specific civil law matters. An example of the tribunals that deal with civil disputes is the NSW Administrative and Civil Tribunal.

The outcome of a civil case is a decision based on whether the plaintiff has proven that the other party breached their civil law obligations towards the plaintiff. If it has been proven in the court, they will then make an order for the damages. A request for damages often means that the respondent must pay money to the plaintiff that reflects the loss that has been suffered by the plaintiff due to the breach of the plaintiff’s right.

Civil cases

A civil case involves disputes between individuals or even between the government and an individual about either the liabilities or the rights of an organisation or individual involved.

Civil cases often involve one individual seeking a solution of whatever sort from another person to resolve the dispute.

Examples of the areas that get housing classified as civil law are:

  • Financial issues
  • Employment law
  • Family law
  • Defamation
  • Housing

In civil cases, each person that is involved in the case is called a party. As mentioned previously, the party who makes a claim or is the one who commences the claim is called the plaintiff, in some cases, they can also be called the applicant. If the party appeals the court’s decision, the party that is suing is called the appellant. The party that is defending themselves in the court is called the respondent or the defendant.

Some civil cases don’t make it to the courts and are thrown out due to lack of evidence or just a plain and simple silly argument between two people that the courts are not going to bother with. You can hire a lawyer for civil matters, but quite often you don’t need one, especially if the other party can prove you breached an agreement or the terms. A case is most likely not going to make it to court if there is just ‘he said’, ‘she said’, without any actual evidence to back their claims or innocence.

There are also many career paths associated with civil law. You can become a family lawyer if civil law interests you. You can even work in the business world as a corporate lawyer. There are so many options for employment in this field that there is likely to be something that interests you.

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