Criminal law in most jurisdictions both in the common and civil law tradition is divided into two fields:
Criminal law distinguishes crimes from civil wrongs such as tort or breach of contract. The distinction between criminal and civil law has existed throughout history. Criminal law has been seen as a system of regulating the behavior of individuals and groups in relation to societal norms at large whereas civil law is aimed primarily at the relationship between private individuals and their rights and obligations under the law. Although many ancient legal systems did not clearly define a distinction between criminal and civil law in England there was little difference until the codification of criminal law occurred in the late nineteenth century. In most U.S. law school the basic course in criminal law is based upon the English common criminal law of 1750.
A society should not be judged on how it treats its outstanding citizens but by how it treats its criminals.....Fyodor Dostoyevsky
K. J. M. Smith, Lawyers, Legislators and Theorists: Developments in English Criminal Jurisprudence, 1800-1957 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998)
Lindsay Farmer, "Reconstructing the English Codification Debate: The Criminal Law Commissioners, 1833-45," Law and History Review, Volume 18 Number 2 Summer 2000 (http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/lhr/18.2/farmer)