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A civil trial is a set of rule-bound procedures for gathering evidence in civil cases. The latter is a residual category of all cases outside of the criminal jurisdiction and more specialized jurisdictions such as bankruptcy or admiralty. Administrative adjudications and arbitrations, a numerically large category, are also generally not considered civil trials. Civil cases can yield a range of possible remedies, including money damages, civil penalties, restitution, and injunctive relief.

The dominant jurisprudence implicit in Western legal systems envisions the civil trial as the institutional device for establishing the rule of law, understood as the “law of rules,” in situations where there are disputes of fact. Broadly liberal and dominantly positivist regimes elevate the importance of preexistent standards, allowing citizens to determine whether a ...

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