Distinguish cause of action from action


QUESTION: Distinguish "cause of action" from "action."

ANSWER: A cause of action is an act or omission in violation of the right or rights of another. It is the basis of an ordinary civil action. According to the Rules of Court, every ordinary civil action shall be based on a cause of action.

Cause of action has elements. They are: an act or omission; a violation of the right or rights of a party; a correlative obligation on the part of the defendant to respect the plaintiff's right; an injury suffered by the plaintiff; and a nexus between the act or omission and the injury suffered. Other textbooks or court decisions state that there are only three elements: an act or omission; defendant's correlative duty; and injury.

On the other hand, an action is a suit filed in court. It may be ordinary or special. An ordinary cause of action is based on a cause of action.

An action may also be classified into civil, criminal or administrative. A civil action is one instituted for the protection or enforcement of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong. A criminal action is one filed by the State against one who has violated penal laws. Finally, an administrative action is one instituted against a government officer, official or employee in relation to his performance of duties and functions.

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