Civil law is a branch of the law. The law relating to civil wrongs and quasi-contracts is part of the civil law. The law of property is embraced by civil law. Civil law can, like criminal law, be divided into substantive law and procedural law. The rights and duties of individuals amongst themselves is the primary concern of civil law. It is often suggested that civil proceedings are taken for the purpose of obtaining compensation for injury, and may thus be distinguished from criminal proceedings, whose purpose is to inflict punishment. However, exemplary or punitive damages may be awarded in civil proceedings. It was also formerly possible for common informers to sue for a penalty in civil proceedings.
Civil law in broader sense is a branch of law which is the general part of private law. The basis for civil law lies in a civil code. Before enacting of codes, civil law could not be distinguished from private law. After that some special areas of private law began to develop, such as commercial law and labour law. Civil law itself has the general part. It consists of capacity and status.
The Civil Law can also be defined as body of rules that delineate private rights and remedies, and govern disputes between individuals in such areas as contracts, property, and Family Law; distinct from criminal or public law. Civil law systems, which trace their roots to ancient Rome, are governed by doctrines developed and compiled by legal scholars. Legislators and administrators in civil law countries use these doctrines to fashion a code by which all legal controversies are decided.
In a nut shell, the Civil law covers disputes between individuals, companies and sometimes local or central government. Civil law disputes are generally the cases in court that are not about breaking a criminal law. For example, disputes over business contracts or debts, or disputes between neighbours.