We’ve recently had a couple of fairly high-profile criminal proceedings here in Norway, resulting in the defendants being found criminally not guilty, but civily liable. I’ve realised I know to little about how similar cases would be handled in other countries, and I have a couple of question about the way these cases are handled in the US, the UK and other relevant countries of comparison.
For many criminal cases in Norway the question of civil liablity and recompense are handled in the same trial by the state prosectuing attorney. This leads to the same trial having two different burdens of proof - the criminal "beyond a reasonable doubt (the so-called 90%sure) and the civil preponderance of evidence (a.k.a. 51% sure).
The defender(s) were found not guilty in the criminal part of the trial, thus not sentenced to prison, but found to be more likely than not to have commited the crimes and therefore sentenced to pay a recompense to the victim. So the “court of public opinion” label them guilty and treat them as such. This of course leads to frustration among victims and the populace, as someone tried in a criminal case can be found not guilty, yet be forced to pay the victim - and as such is sort of guilty anyway.
A famous case with a similar outcome from the US is the OJ Simpson case - found not guilty in the criminal case, then a couple of years later found guilty (is that the term?) for causing a wrongful death and sentenced to pay the families of the deceased a hefty sum.
Now (finally) for the questions:
Are criminal and civil cases sometimes handled in the same trial in other countries or are criminal and civil trials always kept strictly separate?
Are civil cases always filed by the victim, never by the authorities?