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    Saturday, 25 March 2017

    Different between Tort and Crime

    1. Tort
    Various celebrated writers have defined tort as under:

    a.  Salmond
    A tort may be defined as a civil wrong, for which the remedy is an action for damages, and which is not solely the breach of a .contract or the breach of a trust or other merely equitable obligation.

    b. Fleming
    "In very general terms a tort is a civil wrong other than a breach of contract which the law will redress by an award of damages".

    c. Frederick Pollock
    The law of torts in civil wrongs is a collective name for the rules governing many species of liability which although their subject-matter is wide and varied, have certain broad features in common, are enforced by the same kinds of legal process and are subject to similar exception.

    d. Clerk and Lindsell
    A tort may be described as a wrong independent of contract for which the appropriate remedy is a common law action.

    e. Fraser
    A tort is an infringement of a right in rem of a private individual giving a right of compensation at the suit of the injured party.

    2. Crime

    A crime may be defined to be any act done in violation of those duties which an individual owes to a community, and for the breach of which the law has provided that the offender shall make satisfaction to the public. A crime or public offense is an act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it.

    3. Different between tort or crime

    i. Difference as to proceedings
    Tort and crime are distinguished from each other, as their proceedings are different. As pointed out in Salmond "A civil wrong is one which gives rise to civil proceedings, that is to say, which have as their purpose the enforcement of some right claimed by the plaintiff as against the defendant. Criminal Proceedings, on the other hand, are those which have for their object the punishment of the defendant for some act of which he is accused.

    ii. Different as to nature of wrong
    Crime is a public wrong and therefore the person who is wronged of suffers injury, is not required to launch the case himself. IN case of crime, the case is filed on behalf of the state.

    iii. Difference as to nature of remedy
    The award of compensation in a criminal prosecution is ancillary to the primary purpose of punishing the offender but in a tort action generally it is the main purpose. Only exemplary damages allowed in a tort action are punitive in nature and one of the reasons for severely restricting the categories of cases in which they can be awarded is that they import a criminal element in civil law without property safe guards.


    A crime is wrong for which the common remedy is punishment. A tort is a civil wrong and the remedy for which is an action for un-liquidated damages. Since crime is deemed to the an offence against the whole community, the person guilty of committing the crime is published not only for giving him a lesson but also to serve as an eye opener to other members of the community to safeguard the interest of the whole community. Tort being a civil wrong, the remedy is compensatory in nature, i.e. to restore the parties, as far as possible. 
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    Item Reviewed: Different between Tort and Crime Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Usman Ali
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