nCivil wrongs were not seen as offenses against the
entire society, but only
against private parties.
nIn a civil suit the plaintiff was the aggrieved party;
the defendant was the party
accused of the wrongful act. Much
of the early common law litigation involved disputes over land, giving rise to a complex body of property law.
nOther civil offenses came to be classified as breaches
of contract or torts. A
breach of contract occurred when a party
to a contract violated the terms of the agreement. A tort, on the other hand, was a wrongful act that did not violate any enforceable agreement but nevertheless violated a legal right of the injured party.