Difference Between Crime and Tort

Difference Between Crime vs Tort

Most of us are aware of the concept of crime. It is defined as any behavior that violates a law of the land and is punishable by courts of law. Every society and culture have social norms to deal with deviant behavior but total control over unruly behavior that can cause harm to the society on the whole is possible only with the help of laws to deter people from engaging in crimes. Another concept known as tort confuses many because of its similarities with crime. Many torts are also punishable under the law, but not all crime is a tort, and not all torts are crime. There are many more differences between the two concepts that will be talked about in this article.


Any act of an individual or a group that is harmful to others, the society, or the state in general is considered a crime that is punishable by a court of law. There are written laws made by legislators that apply to all citizens of a country and they have to be followed in letter and spirit by the people. A crime is said to have been committed when there is a violation of any of the laws of the land.

There are many different types of crimes such as those pertaining to interaction with other individuals and dealing with interpersonal relations, crimes related with money and property, crimes relating with violence, crimes against organizations and even the state etc. There are laws to deal with different crimes and many agencies such as the police department, FBI, law courts work in tandem and close cooperation, to apprehend people committing crimes and hand them over to be tried in law courts so that justice can be delivered to the victims.


When there is a dispute between individuals, that takes a legal shape, it constitutes a tort. One individual commits a wrong against another individual where the victims is injured or harmed. The victim can bring a law suit against the perpetrator of the tort to seek redressal of their harm through financial compensation. In general, a tort is a civil wrongdoing and involves cases where a person’s behavior or action causes injury or harm to another individual or many persons.

A tort may not be a crime but is still considered a wrongdoing that requires compensation to be paid to the victim by the person committing tort. In most instances of torts, the cases are brought to law courts by the victims seeking financial compensation for the wrongdoing and punishment for the perpetrator of tort.

What is the difference between Crime and Tort?

• While the focus is on punishment of criminal in a crime, the focus is on financial compensation in the case of torts.

• Instead of moral wrong as in crime, the personal injury caused to an individual takes precedence in a tort.

• Public interest is a part of crime while it is only private interest in case of a tort.

• Aggrieved party is the initiator of the proceedings in a law court while in case of a crime the case is initiated by the state.

• In a crime, a defendant has a right to a counsel while, in a tort, there is no such right for the defendant.

• Some of the crimes are torts while some of the torts may not be crimes.