Legal systems of the world. Civil law based systems are in turquoise.

Civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.

- Tort

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Front page of La Vie Illustrée on 25 July 1902. Mme Camille du Gast stands in court during the cases of character defamation by the barrister Maître Barboux, and the Prince of Sagan's assault on Barboux.

Defamation is the communication of a false statement about another that injures their reputation and usually constitutes a tort.


At common law, damages are a remedy in the form of a monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury.

Legal systems of the world. Common law countries are in several shades of pink, corresponding to variations in common law systems.

Damages in tort are quantified under two headings: general damages and special damages.

False imprisonment

False imprisonment or unlawful imprisonment occurs when a person intentionally restricts another person’s movement within any area without legal authority, justification, or the restrained person's permission.

According to some views, certain rights derive from deities or nature

Under common law, false imprisonment is both a crime and a tort.


Legally enforceable agreement that creates, defines, and governs mutual rights and obligations among its parties.

Bill of sale of a male slave and a building in Shuruppak, Sumerian tablet, circa 2600 BC
The Carbolic Smoke Ball offer
A contract from the Tang dynasty that records the purchase of a 15-year-old slave for six bolts of plain silk and five Chinese coins
German marriage contract, 1521 between {{Interlanguage link multi|Gottfried Werner von Zimmern|de}} and Apollonia von Henneberg-Römhild
Thomas Boylston to Thomas Jefferson, May 1786, Maritime Insurance Premiums
Fire insurance contract of 1796

Contract law can be contrasted with tort law (also referred to in some but not all civil and mixed jurisdictions as the law of delicts), the other major area of the law of obligations.

English tort law

English tort law concerns the compensation for harm to people's rights to health and safety, a clean environment, property, their economic interests, or their reputations.

Tort law concerns civil wrongs, damaging people's rights to health and safety, property, or a clean environment. Most accidents have become strictly regulated, and may require insurance, for workplaces, road accidents, products, or environmental harm such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
19th century regulation limited child labour and working time in factories and mines, but employers were not always liable for accidents until 1937.
Strikers gathering in Tyldesley in the 1926 General Strike in the U.K.

In English law, torts like other civil cases are generally tried in front a judge without a jury.


Term in civil and mixed law jurisdictions whose exact meaning varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but is always centred on the notion of wrongful conduct.

In Scots and Roman Dutch law, it always refers to a tort, which can be defined as a civil wrong consisting of an intentional or negligent breach of duty of care that inflicts loss or harm and which triggers legal liability for the wrongdoer.


Negligence (Lat.

A decomposed snail in Scotland was the humble beginning of the modern English law of negligence
In Bolton v Stone, the English Law Lords were sympathetic to cricket players
Negligence can lead to this sort of collision: a train wreck at Gare Montparnasse in 1895.

The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by failing to act as a form of carelessness possibly with extenuating circumstances.

Criminal law

Body of law that relates to crime.

The Old Bailey in London (in 1808) was the venue for more than 100,000 criminal trials between 1674 and 1834, including all death penalty cases.
An English court room in 1886, with Lord Chief Justice Coleridge presiding
International Criminal Court in The Hague

In Roman law, Gaius's Commentaries on the Twelve Tables also conflated the civil and criminal aspects, treating theft (furtum) as a tort.


Unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority.

The spiked heads of executed criminals once adorned the gatehouse of the medieval London Bridge.
Kang Kek Iew before the Cambodian Genocide Tribunal on July 20, 2009
Religious sentiment often becomes a contributory factor of crime. In the 1819 anti-Jewish Hep-Hep riots in Würzburg, rioters attacked Jewish businesses and destroyed property.

Breaches of private law (torts and breaches of contract) are not automatically punished by the state, but can be enforced through civil procedure.

Insurance policy

Contract between the insurer and the policyholder, which determines the claims which the insurer is legally required to pay.

An advertising poster for a Dutch insurance company from c. undefined 1900–1918 depicts an armored knight

Insurance contracts are governed by the principle of utmost good faith (uberrima fides), which requires both parties of the insurance contract to deal in good faith and in particular, imparts on the insured a duty to disclose all material facts that relate to the risk to be covered. This contrasts with the legal doctrine that covers most other types of contracts, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). In the United States, the insured can sue an insurer in tort for acting in bad faith.