Civil law is a legal system that is based on written codes and focuses on resolving disputes between individuals or entities. Learn about the 10 characteristics of civil law and gain a better understanding of this legal system.
The civil law is the set of legal provisions and ordinances whose purpose is to regulate the common life of people, in relation to their property, needs, rights and relationships with each other and with the State.
The origin of civil law goes back to the legislature of the Roman State, when it was understood in two different and opposed ways: private law, which regulated relations between individuals, and public law, which had to do exclusively with the tasks of the people and the institutions of the State, or of the public powers among themselves.
Characteristics Of Civil Law
1. Regarding people
One of the main aspects of civil law is related to the very existence of the human being: birth, death and legal ties between individuals, such as nationality, civil status and legal considerations that accompany the person from birth.
2. Regarding the goods
The legal disposition of things and goods, as well as of the ways of acquiring and enjoying them, also concerns civil law. This can refer to:
The different types of property.
The regulations concerning the use of a specific good.
The rules of succession or inheritance.
The transfers and assignments of specific goods.
3. Regarding the family
Since the family is the basis of society, civil law involves the relationships derived from it, whether in moral, ethical, patrimonial or simply in the interest of public order. This refers to marital unions (or civil unions), relationships of kinship and consanguinity, as well as rights, duties and relationships of superiority or dependence that they generate.
4. Regarding civil liability
Civil liability is understood as the obligation of the persons to repair or compensate the eventual damage they may cause to others and their property, as well as to the property of the State. This responsibility may be of a contractual nature (when a voluntary agreement is violated) or extracontractual (when what is violated is a law).
5. Regarding contracts
Another aspect on which civil law falls is the regulation of legal acts and businesses, as well as their possible consequences and links. In this sense, it is responsible for ensuring compliance with the obligations and benefits contracted, but also for the conditions under which such agreements may take place.
6. Regarding international law
There is also a so-called international civil law, whose field of action are the areas of conflict between legal regulations between countries, conflicts of applicable law and immigration regulations. This is also known as private international law and each country determines its own position in the matter.
7. Regarding the common law
Common law is a legal system that is based on judicial decisions and precedents, rather than on written laws and codes. In common law systems, judges have a significant role in interpreting and applying the law to the facts of a particular case, and their decisions can have a significant impact on the development of the law.
Unlike civil law systems, which rely on comprehensive codes and statutes, common law systems are based on the accumulation of judicial decisions over time. These decisions, known as precedents or case law, provide guidance for future cases and help to shape the development of the law.
Common law systems are primarily found in countries that have a history of English law, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and other former British colonies. In these countries, the legal system is often divided into two separate branches: common law and equity law, which developed to address issues that were not adequately covered by the common law.
While civil law and common law systems differ in their approach to the law, they both serve important functions in the global legal landscape. Understanding the similarities and differences between these legal systems is important for legal practitioners, individuals seeking to understand their rights and obligations, and anyone interested in the legal systems of different countries.
8. Regarding the legal system
Civil law is a legal system that is primarily based on written laws, statutes, and codes, rather than on common law or judicial decisions. In civil law systems, judges typically have a more limited role than in common law systems, and their primary function is to apply the law as written to the facts of a given case.
Civil law systems are typically found in countries that have a history of codifying their laws and creating legal systems that are based on a comprehensive set of rules and principles. These systems are designed to provide predictability and consistency in the application of the law, and to ensure that legal disputes are resolved fairly and efficiently.
One of the key features of civil law systems is their reliance on the civil code, a comprehensive legal document that outlines the fundamental principles and rules that govern private legal relationships between individuals or entities. In addition to the civil code, civil law systems may have other written laws, such as commercial codes, labor codes, and administrative codes, among others.
Overall, civil law systems play an important role in the global legal landscape, and they are widely used in many parts of the world. Understanding the basic principles and characteristics of civil law is essential for legal practitioners, individuals seeking to understand their rights and obligations, and anyone interested in the legal systems of different countries.
9. Regarding the territory
In civil law systems, the legal rules and principles are typically applicable to a specific territory or jurisdiction. This means that the laws governing civil matters such as contracts, property, family law, and torts, among others, may vary from one jurisdiction to another.
The territorial scope of civil law is usually determined by the legal authority responsible for enacting and enforcing the laws. In most cases, civil law systems are established by national governments and apply within the boundaries of a particular country.
However, in some cases, the scope of civil law may extend beyond national borders. For example, civil law may be applicable in certain international contracts, where parties from different jurisdictions agree to abide by a particular set of laws.
Overall, the territorial scope of civil law is an important consideration for legal practitioners and individuals seeking to understand their rights and obligations under civil law systems. It is important to consult with qualified legal professionals who have expertise in the relevant jurisdiction to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
10. Regarding the civil code
Civil law is a legal system that is based on written codes, including the civil code. The civil code is a comprehensive legal document that outlines the fundamental principles and rules that govern private legal relationships between individuals or entities, such as contracts, property, family law, and torts.
The civil code is a key feature of civil law systems and is designed to provide clarity and consistency in the application of the law. It is a crucial tool for legal practitioners and serves as the foundation for the resolution of civil disputes.
In addition to the civil code, civil law systems may also have other written laws, such as commercial codes, labor codes, and administrative codes, among others. These codes provide additional guidance and regulation for specific areas of law.
Overall, civil law systems are characterized by their reliance on written codes, as opposed to case law or common law systems that rely on judicial decisions and precedent. The civil code and other written laws provide a clear and predictable framework for legal disputes, making civil law systems an important part of the global legal landscape.