Although few people are ever actually involved in a court action, the civil law runs through many aspects of everyday life. Contract cases, for example, are the most common cases tried in civil courts. There are a multitude of agreements covered by contract law.
The aims and end results of civil and criminal trials are both quite different. A criminal trial is an exploration on behalf of the state into whether the defendant has broken the criminal law.
A civil action is a contest between two parties (a party being an individual, a business or another organisation) where differences of opinion are settled by the courts. The victim in this case is known as the claimant, formerly known as the plaintiff. The claimant is usually seeking financial compensation from the defendant. The claimant brings the case to court so they ask the court to make a judgement. For the court to decide in favour of the claimant, facts that are central to the claimant's argument must be proven.