Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Mauro Bussani and Anthony J. Sebok
Chapter 5: Tort and crime
[T]here is no distinction better known, than the distinction between civil and criminal law. This chapter will set out how the distinction and relationship between tort and crime can be examined comparatively. To do so it gives a framework to prime investigations and to facilitate comparison. That framework builds on three interfaces of tort and crime: where, how and why they connect. The relationship between tort and crime is important. Each legal issue, and the legal system as a whole, is better understood by acknowledging when its parts work in concert, not by artificially separating them out. The interfaces between tort and crime also highlight how important legal actors’ frameworks and practices are in shaping the law. The interfaces between tort and crime provide excellent places to examine the weave of the law: the moral, regulatory, philosophical, political, practical and societal threads, as well as how these feed back to the way the problem is conceived. We are asking, in other words, what the overlaps between areas of law can tell us about law itself. The first and most important step in understanding the relationship between tort and crime is to set out all the places where they interact. For present purposes, these places can be grouped into four: institutions, procedure, normative theories and substance. The institutional setting can be divided into structures and legal actors.