Civil recovery is a method in some legal systems for retailer's claims handling agent to recover, in civil proceedings, the value of property (including intellectual property) obtained through unlawful conduct, instead of, or in addition to, criminal proceedings.
The Citizen's Advice Bureau advises that in some cases, the process "may constitute ‘deceitful’, ‘unfair’ and ‘improper’ business practice, as defined by the OFT" ()
In the case of "A retailer vs Ms B & Ms K" at Oxford County Court on 9th May 2012, the first civil recovery case to proceed to full trial in court, Judge Charles Harris QC ruled that the retailer had "failed to establish that its security staff had been diverted from their ordinary duties, still less that any such diversion would have caused significant disruption to the claimant’s business." The claim was dismissed in its entirety with permission to appeal refused.()
In the United States, civil recovery laws allow store and retailers to prosecute alleged shoplifters in civil court. All 50 states have some form of civil recovery law. In some jurisdictions, both a civil recovery demand and a ticket or arrest for "stealing" is initiated by the retailer.