Journal Article Title: Architects and Engineers in the Court Room
Article Author(s): ELOVITZ, KENNETH M., P.E.
Volume: 3
Volume #: 2
Month: December
Year: 1986


Any discussion of law should begin by identifying which segment of our multifaceted legal system is being addressed. There are many distinctions which can be drawn. The first distinction I want to make is between criminal law and civil law. Criminal law deals generally with violations of statutes and results in fines or imprisonment. Although many aspects of criminal law address the problem of harm inflicted by one person upon another, the true nature of crime is that it is an offense against the sovereign. It is the sovereign who characterizes the behavior or activity as anti-social and makes it punishable. Civil law, on the other hand, deals with conflicts between private parties. This discussion deals with civil law, and for our purposes, civil law can be divided into two large spheres: contact law and tort law. The important distinction I want to draw between contract law and tort law is that contract law is private law while tort law is public law.

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