Civil Law Information

For Beginners!

Basic Court Information!

Civil Case- A court case in which the plaintiff is suing the defendant for a legal dispute.

Examples: Lady suing McDonalds over hot coffee, Father suing mother over the right to see child, etc.

Plaintiff- A person bringing the case agains't another in a court of law.

Examples: The lady used sued McDonalds.

Defendant- A individual or corporation being sued or accused in court.

Examples: McDonalds in the case.

Lawsuit- The act of suing between two parties.

Examples: Between an individual and corporation, between a owner and renter, between a mother and father over custody, etc.

Tort- A civil wrong, that results in a legal liability.

Examples: Assault, battery, false imprisonment, etc.

Libel- Defamation of character in the form of print.

Examples: A defamatory piece being published about a doctor by a nurse, etc.

Legal Documents!

Summons- A legal document that commands the defendant to appear in court.

Example: Written notice for McDonalds to appear in court.

Complaint- The first document filled out in civil court case that states why the plaintiff is suing the defendant.

Example: Statement filed in a court detailing the reasons the lady wanted to sue McDonalds.

Pleadings- When claims and defenses are submitted from both sides.

Examples: Evidence from both the lady and McDonalds cases.


Negligence- The failure of taking proper care in doing something.

Example: A parent leaving a baby in a car, a nurse who forgets to take care of a patient, etc.

Appeal- When the defendant or plaintiff does not agree with the verdict and requests it to be reviewed by a higher court.

Example: McDonalds disagreeing with verdict and having case appealed to the court of appeals.


Mediation- When parties meet with a unbiased third party in order to settle the case.

Example: Mediator helped home owner and builder to reach a mutual agreement on the house.

Arbitration- When the third party helps to settle a case.

Example: An attorney (the arbitrator) talking to both the home owner and builders to reach a mutual settlement.

Verdict- The conclusion of facts by a jury or judge.

Example: Decision of the court McDonalds was a fault.