Difference Between Tort and Crime


Though the tort and crime , apparently , seem to be resemble to each other , there are differences in between the two . The same facts may give rise to liability in both tort as well as crime , but the two differ in respect of principle and procedure and in such circumstances both are violations of rights in rem .

The main points of distinction , between the two , are shown in the following tabular form .

1. Nature of the act.
Tort is an infringement of civil right of an individual . It is a wrong against an individual . It violates the right in personam .
Nature of the act.
But crime is an offence not only against an individual but also against the society as a whole. It violates the right in rem.
2. Parties.
A suit is brought by the individual whose legal right is violated .
On the other hand , since interest of the society is violated , the criminal is prosecuted by the State at the instance of a private individual .State is always a party to a criminal proceeding .
3. Court.
For a tortious act a suit for damages is filed in a civil Court .
For crime prosecution is launched in a criminal Court .
4. Object.
Object of the law of torts is to compensate the person whose legal right has been infringed by the wrongdoer.
On the other hand , object of the law of crimes is to punish the criminal fro the interest of society.
5. Remedy.
Remedy against a tort is a suit for damages claiming for compensation . Sometimes the remedy may be for a declaration and injunction .
In case of crime , the remedy is prosecution with an eye to punish the criminal .

Some torts are civil wrongs as well as crimes , they violate the individual rights as well as interest of the society . As for instance , assault , battery and libel violate not only the rights of individual but also the interest of society in maintaining peace and order therein .In such cases both the right in rem and right in personam co-exist with each other . In these cases , the wrongdoer is liable to be sued in civil Court as well as prosecuted in criminal Court , at the same time .