What is a Civil Lawsuit?

Cite this article as: Jason Mance Gordon, "What is a Civil Lawsuit?," in The Business Professor, updated January 6, 2015, last accessed April 9, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/knowledge-base/what-is-a-civil-lawsuit/.
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What is a Civil Lawsuit?
This video explains what is a civil lawsuit or civil litigation.

Next Article: Parties to Litigation


What is a “civil lawsuit” or “civil action”?

A civil lawsuit is a private legal action between two or more parties addressing a legally recognizable dispute. A civil lawsuit can be grounded in tort, contract, property, or family law. One or more of the parties have allegedly suffered a harm or loss as a result of the actions or inactions of the other party. Those parties are seeking resolution of the legal dispute and an enforceable remedy from the court.

Discussion: Why do you think the government provides a method by which individuals can settle disputes among themselves? Do you think litigation is an effective method of achieving these objectives?

Discussion Input

  • The ability to settle one’s disputes through an authoritative court of law is a cornerstone of rule of law. It allows for the orderly administration of society, while providing confidence in carrying on economic activity. Some would say that litigation is not the most effective form, as a jury of one’s peers often make decisions based upon emotion and lack of understanding of the law. Others would argue that this is the most fair way of approaching a dispute. It takes away the subjective authority of a single individual (a Judge or Arbiter) and places it into the hands of one’s peers.

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