Boston University School of Law
Lawyers and judges in English royal courts between 1200 and 1500 drew a distinction between crime and tort. Each type of lawsuit-each writ or action-had its own form and nature. Medieval English lawyers grouped these individual actions into categories such as real actions and personal actions, writs of possession and writs of right.' The lawyers recognized categories that later acquired the labels crime and tort, although those were not the names for them in the early common law. Crimes were prosecuted by actions known as indictments and appeals of felony. Torts were remedied by writs of trespass alleging use of force and arms against the king's peace.
David J. Seipp,
The Distinction Between Crime and Tort in the Early Common Law
Boston University Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/1570