The difference between false imprisonment and malicious prosecution may be shown in the tabular form as follows:


  False imprisonment.
Malicious prosecution.
1. In the case of false imprisonment there is an important element of total restraint of personal liberty without lawful justification. But in the case of malicious prosecution there is the element of causing damage by means of an abuse of the process of Court.
2. By a private individual’s legal action individual liberty of the plaintiff is wrongly restrained. With the help of judicial sanction, the arrest of plaintiff is obtained.
3. The onus of pleading and proving affirmatively the existence of reasonable and probable cause as justification lies on the defendant in the case of false imprisonment.  But in the event of an action of malicious prosecution the plaintiff is to allege and prove affirmatively it’s non-existence.
In an action for false imprisonment, it is not so required. In malicious prosecution the plaintiff is to prove that the defendant acted with malice.
5. Damage is not the essence of false imprisonment. In an action for malicious prosecution damage is said to be the essence of it.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment is a legal term that refers to the intentional or unlawful detention or confinement of a person against their will, without any legal justification or authority. It occurs when a person is restrained or confined by someone else, without having committed any crime or wrongdoing, and without their consent.

False imprisonment is considered a civil wrong (tort), and it can also be a criminal offense in some jurisdictions. In civil cases, the victim of false imprisonment can seek damages for any harm or loss suffered as a result of the confinement, such as emotional distress, lost wages, or medical expenses. In criminal cases, the person responsible for the false imprisonment can face criminal charges, such as kidnapping or unlawful restraint.

It is important to note that false imprisonment does not have to involve physical restraint or confinement. For example, threats or intimidation, or the use of authority or deception, can also be considered false imprisonment if they prevent a person from leaving a particular place or situation. Additionally, the duration of the confinement is not necessarily a factor in determining whether false imprisonment has occurred. Even a brief detention can be considered false imprisonment if it is done without legal justification or authority and against the person’s will.

Malicious Prosecution

Malicious prosecution is a legal term that refers to a wrongful and intentional abuse of the legal process. It occurs when a person initiates or continues a criminal or civil legal proceeding against another person without reasonable grounds or probable cause, and with the intention of harassing, injuring, or causing some other form of harm to that person.

To prove a claim of malicious prosecution, the plaintiff must show that:

  1. The defendant initiated or continued a legal proceeding against them without probable cause;
  2. The legal proceeding was initiated or continued with malice;
  3. The legal proceeding terminated in favor of the plaintiff; and
  4. The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the legal proceeding.

The plaintiff must prove all four elements to succeed in a malicious prosecution claim. If successful, the plaintiff can recover damages for any harm or loss suffered as a result of the malicious prosecution, such as loss of reputation, emotional distress, and financial losses.

It is important to note that the mere fact that a legal proceeding is unsuccessful does not necessarily mean that it was maliciously initiated or continued. The plaintiff must show that there was no probable cause for the legal proceeding and that it was initiated or continued with malice. Additionally, a person who brings a legal proceeding with probable cause and a good-faith belief in the merits of their case is not liable for malicious prosecution, even if they ultimately lose the case.