Civil fraud—frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Civil fraud—frequently asked questions (FAQ)

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Civil fraud—frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  • Fraud—what is it?
  • Civil fraud (commercial fraud)—what is it?
  • What is the difference between civil and criminal fraud?
  • What kind of claims could I bring for a civil fraud?
  • What are the ‘fraud’ defences to civil claims?
  • What are the remedies and sanctions for fraud?
  • How do I commence proceedings for fraud?
  • What if there are parallel civil and criminal fraud proceedings?

Fraud—what is it?

Fraud can best be described as the deliberate or intentional use of misrepresentation, deception or dishonesty to deprive, in order to make a gain or achieve an advantage for someone or something or to disadvantage or cause loss (usually financial) to another person or party. That said, it is not always necessary that a scenario, which has at its heart elements of dishonesty, requires establishing dishonesty on the part of some or all of the protagonists in order to seek a civil remedy.

Fraud is defined differently depending on whether you are acting in a civil or criminal context, and even within civil and criminal law the definition changes depending on the type of claim or offence being pursued.

Fraud is something which is done by an individual, who may or may not be acting on behalf of a company. In either case, it can have significant ramifications for any company associated with the individual, as well as the victims of the fraud (whether individual or corporate).

Here are some examples of recognised terms (not legal causes of action) which demonstrate the breadth of the concept of fraud:

Advance fee fraud—fraud perpetrated by a demand up front for payment in exchange for goods or services which will never be delivered or whose value is vastly inflated. Often involves distance