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What is Civil Litigation?

Laws can be categorized into two primary fields: criminal law and civil law. While criminal law deals with crimes and felonies, civil law governs relationships between people, and civil lawyers help defend victims of a civil suit. Essentially, all human interactions are civil interactions. And when a person sues another, it’s called civil litigation.

Civil litigation is when two parties have disputes against each other. The parties can be individuals, companies, and other entities. In civil litigation, there can be multiple people filing the case or serving as defendants. 

Civil litigation is a rather broad concept that encompasses a lot of different relations and interactions. There’s contract law, family law, property, personal injury, etc. Sometimes, civil law can also overlap with criminal prosecutions, specifically in cases of civil fraud or civil theft. 

Some of the common civil cases filed in court include:

  • Breaches of contract. This can be either written or oral, as Colorado law holds both to the same standard. 
  • Real estate. This governs a broad range of cases, such as real estate transactions, buying and selling property, issues that arise from these transactions, etc. 
  • Tort claims. This is when someone sustains harm, injury, or loss caused by another. Some examples of torts are libel, slander, defamation, negligence, and fraud. 

Appellate Work

Civil litigation also includes appellate work. This involves working on appeals — i.e. when a party is unhappy with the decision in their case and brings it up to the appellate court or Court of Appeals for reconsideration. 

Appeals belong to a specialized area of law and they’re different from an average trial because, unlike what happens in trial court, no evidence or new arguments are presented on appeal. It’s just limited to the facts and evidence presented in the trial court. The purpose of appellate court is to correct or support the decision of the trial court, considering the facts and arguments presented to them. 

Civil litigation is a very broad area of law. But in a nutshell, it focuses on relationships of people and disputes that may arise from those relationships and human interaction. 

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Aaron
Belzer

Managing Partner - Civil Litigation

Boulder

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