Civil Procedure (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The methods, procedures, and practices used in civil cases.
The judicial system is essentially divided into two types of cases: civil and criminal. Thus, a study of CIVIL PROCEDURE is basically a study of the procedures that apply in cases that are not criminal.
Generally, criminal trials are used by the government to protect and provide relief to the general public by attempting to punish an individual. Civil trials can be used by anyone to enforce, redress, or protect their legal rights through court orders and monetary awards. The two types of trials are very different in character and thus have separate procedural rules and practices.
Procedural law is distinguished from SUBSTANTIVE LAW, which creates, defines, and regulates the rights and duties of individuals. Federal and state constitutions, statutes, and judicial decisions form the basis for substantive CIVIL LAW on matters such as contracts, TORTS,and probate. Procedural law prescribes the methods by which individuals may enforce substantive laws. The basic concern of procedural law is the fair, orderly, efficient, and predictable application of substantive laws. Procedural guidance can be found in court rules, in statutes, and in judicial decisions.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
(The entire section is 4181 words.)
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