People can sue each other but they cannot criminally prosecute people? Private prosecution - Wikipedia There used to be common. Now most criminal charges are done by public prosecutors. Why were it common? Why it isn't common now? Some of the benefits of private prosecution is that people tend to get prosecuted for committing non victimless crime. If I got robbed and someone offers me weed, I am far more likely to prosecute the one that rob me. Public prosecutors have no such incentive. In fact, most jails are filled with victimless criminals. However, I can understand that private prosecution will have problems. What about murder victims? If only the victim can "sue" all murders will effectively be legal.