Civil Suit in Criminal Procedure

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Civil Suit in Criminal Procedure


according to Soviet law, a claim for compensation for material loss caused by a crime, which is presented during criminal proceedings and is considered by the court jointly with the criminal case, in accordance with the system of criminal procedure (Code of Criminal Procedure of the RSFSR, art. 29, and the corresponding articles of the codes of criminal procedure of the union republics). A civil suit may be brought from the moment the criminal case is initiated until the beginning of the judicial investigation. A plaintiff whose suit has been dismissed by way of civil proceedings may not bring the same suit again in a criminal case.

It is possible to combine a criminal charge and a civil suit into one case only if the material loss was caused by the fact that a crime was committed. The consideration of a civil suit jointly with a criminal case promotes just decision of the criminal case, ensures effective protection of the property rights of the victim, and gives considerable advantage to all participants in the proceedings.

A civil suit in criminal procedure may be brought by citizens as well as by enterprises and institutions, if they suffered material loss as the result of a crime. Citizens who are the dependents of a deceased person also have the right to bring a civil suit in criminal procedure. The procurator may bring a civil suit or support a suit brought by a victim, if the protection of state or social interests or the rights of citizens so requires. A suit is brought by filing a declaration with the agency of inquiry, the investigator, or the court before which the criminal case is pending. Recognition or dismissal of the civil plaintiff is rendered by decree of the agency of inquiry, investigator, or judge or by ruling of the court. If under the law the responsibility in a civil suit rests not with the defendant but with another person, the latter is included in the proceedings as a civil respondent. The civil suit is protected by the distraint of the property of the accused, of the person who bears material responsibility for the actions of the accused, or of other persons in possession of property acquired by means of the crime. If a civil suit has not been brought, the court in decreeing judgment has the right on its own initiative to resolve the question of compensation for the material loss caused by the crime.

In other socialist countries state questions connected with civil suits in criminal procedure are regulated by procedural laws that are analogous to those that are in effect in the Soviet Union.

The laws of a number of bourgeois countries, including Great Britain and the USA, do not recognize the concept of bringing a civil suit in criminal procedure. In these countries the victim has the right to bring suit for compensation for material loss resulting from a crime only in civil proceedings and only after the conclusion of the criminal case. In the law of France consideration of a criminal charge and a civil suit simultaneously in one case is admissible (Code of Criminal Procedure of France, art. 2). After the court has rendered a decision on the criminal charge and has heard the parties and the procurator, it decides the question of compensation without the participation of the jury. The court may decide in favor of the claims of the civil plaintiff against the accused or in favor of the accused who has been acquitted and against the civil plaintiff (arts. 371–75).


Gureev, P. P. Grazhdanskii isk v sovetskom ugolovnom protsesse. Moscow, 1961.
Mazalov, A. G. Grazhdanskii isk v ugolovnom protsesse. Moscow, 1967.
Nauchno-prakticheskiikommentariik UPK RSFSR. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.