Civil law (legal system)

civil lawcivilcivil law systemcivil-lawContinental Lawcivil law systemscivil law jurisdictionscivil law legal systemcivil lawscivil lawyer
Civil law, or civilian law, is a legal system originating in Europe, intellectualized within the framework of Roman law, the main feature of which is that its core principles are codified into a referable system which serves as the primary source of law.wikipedia
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Roman law

RomanRoman civil lawlaw
Civil law, or civilian law, is a legal system originating in Europe, intellectualized within the framework of Roman law, the main feature of which is that its core principles are codified into a referable system which serves as the primary source of law. The expression "civil law" is a translation of Latin jus civile, or "citizens' law", which was the late imperial term for its legal system, as opposed to the laws governing conquered peoples (jus gentium); hence, the Justinian Code's title Corpus Juris Civilis.
Roman law forms the basic framework for civil law, the most widely used legal system today, and the terms are sometimes used synonymously.

Common law

common-lawcourts of common lawcommon
This can be contrasted with common law systems, the intellectual framework of which comes from judge-made decisional law, and gives precedential authority to prior court decisions, on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions (doctrine of judicial precedent, or stare decisis). Other major legal systems in the world include common law, Islamic law, Halakha, and canon law.
Today, one-third of the world's population lives in common law jurisdictions or in systems mixed with civil law, including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Burma, Cameroon, Canada (both the federal system and all its provinces except Quebec), Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom (including its overseas territories such as Gibraltar), the United States (both the federal system and 49 of its 50 states), and Zimbabwe.

Codification (law)

codifiedcodificationcodify
Civil law, or civilian law, is a legal system originating in Europe, intellectualized within the framework of Roman law, the main feature of which is that its core principles are codified into a referable system which serves as the primary source of law.
Codification is one of the defining features of civil law jurisdictions.

Napoleonic Code

Code CivilFrench Civil CodeCode Napoleon
Historically, a civil law is the group of legal ideas and systems ultimately derived from the Corpus Juris Civilis, but heavily overlaid by Napoleonic, Germanic, canonical, feudal, and local practices, as well as doctrinal strains such as natural law, codification, and legal positivism.
The Napoleonic Code was not the first legal code to be established in a European country with a civil legal system; it was preceded by the Codex Maximilianeus bavaricus civilis (Bavaria, 1756), the Allgemeines Landrecht (Prussia, 1794), and the West Galician Code (Galicia, then part of Austria, 1797).

Precedent

stare decisislegal precedentbinding precedent
This can be contrasted with common law systems, the intellectual framework of which comes from judge-made decisional law, and gives precedential authority to prior court decisions, on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions (doctrine of judicial precedent, or stare decisis).
In civil law systems, past decisions may influence future decisions, even if they do not have the precedential, binding effect that they have in common law decision-making.

Code of law

legal codecodelaw code
The most pronounced features of civil systems are their legal codes, with brief legal texts that typically avoid factually specific scenarios.
Though the process and motivations for codification are similar in different common law and civil law systems, their usage is different.

Inquisitorial system

inquisitorialinquisitioninquisitorial systems
Civil law is often paired with the inquisitorial system, but the terms are not synonymous.
Inquisitorial systems are used primarily in countries with civil legal systems, such as France and Italy, as opposed to common law systems.

Canon law of the Catholic Church

canon lawcanonicalCatholic canon law
Historically, a civil law is the group of legal ideas and systems ultimately derived from the Corpus Juris Civilis, but heavily overlaid by Napoleonic, Germanic, canonical, feudal, and local practices, as well as doctrinal strains such as natural law, codification, and legal positivism.
The Catholic Church has the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, much later than Roman law but predating the evolution of modern European civil law traditions.

Halakha

Jewish lawhalakhicHalacha
Other major legal systems in the world include common law, Islamic law, Halakha, and canon law.
Historically, in the Jewish diaspora, halakha served many Jewish communities as an enforceable avenue of law – both civil and religious, since no differentiation exists in classical Judaism.

Civil code

civilcivil codescivil law
Where codes exist, the primary source of law is the law code, a systematic collection of interrelated articles, arranged by subject matter in some pre-specified order, that explain the principles of law, rights and entitlements, and how basic legal mechanisms work.
The Corpus Juris Civilis, a codification of Roman law produced between 529-534 AD by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, forms the basis of civil law legal systems.

Corpus Juris Civilis

Corpus Iuris CivilisJustinian CodeJustinian's Code
Historically, a civil law is the group of legal ideas and systems ultimately derived from the Corpus Juris Civilis, but heavily overlaid by Napoleonic, Germanic, canonical, feudal, and local practices, as well as doctrinal strains such as natural law, codification, and legal positivism. AD 1–250), and in particular Justinian law (6th century AD), and further expanded and developed in the late Middle Ages under the influence of canon law. The expression "civil law" is a translation of Latin jus civile, or "citizens' law", which was the late imperial term for its legal system, as opposed to the laws governing conquered peoples (jus gentium); hence, the Justinian Code's title Corpus Juris Civilis.
This revived Roman law, in turn, became the foundation of law in all civil law jurisdictions.

Jurisprudence

Legal Studieslawjuridical
In actual practice, an increasing degree of precedent is creeping into civil law jurisprudence, and is generally seen in many nations' highest courts.
Modern jurisprudence began in the 18th century and was focused on the first principles of natural law, civil law, and the law of nations.

Supreme court

court of last resorthighest courtsupreme
While the typical French-speaking supreme court decision is short, concise and devoid of explanation or justification, in Germanic Europe, the supreme courts can and do tend to write more verbose opinions, supported by legal reasoning.
Civil law states tend not to have a single highest court.

Jus commune

ius communecommon law
Civil law practitioners, however, traditionally refer to their system in a broad sense as jus commune, literally "common law", meaning the general principles of law as opposed to laws specific to particular areas.
It is often used by civil law jurists to refer to those aspects of the civil law system's invariant legal principles, sometimes called "the law of the land" in English law.

Contract

contract lawcontractsagreement
The Justinian Code's doctrines provided a sophisticated model for contracts, rules of procedure, family law, wills, and a strong monarchical constitutional system.
In the civil law tradition, contract law is a branch of the law of obligations.

Justinian I

JustinianEmperor JustinianJustinian the Great
AD 1–250), and in particular Justinian law (6th century AD), and further expanded and developed in the late Middle Ages under the influence of canon law.
A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still the basis of civil law in many modern states.

Medieval Roman law

Roman Lawmedieval lawMiddle Ages
AD 1–250), and in particular Justinian law (6th century AD), and further expanded and developed in the late Middle Ages under the influence of canon law.
Based on the ancient text of Roman law, the Corpus iuris civilis, it added many new concepts, and formed the basis of the later civil law systems that prevail in the vast majority of countries.

Byzantine Empire

ByzantineEastern Roman EmpireByzantines
Roman law continued without interruption in the Byzantine Empire until its final fall in the 15th century.
The Corpus forms the basis of civil law of many modern states.

Admiralty law

maritime lawadmiraltymaritime
In England, it was taught academically at Oxford and Cambridge, but underlay only probate and matrimonial law insofar as both were inherited from canon law, and maritime law, adapted from lex mercatoria through the Bordeaux trade.
Despite early reliance upon civil law concepts derived from the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian, the English Admiralty Court is very much a common law court, albeit a sui generis tribunal initially somewhat distanced from other English courts.

Jus gentium

ius gentiumlaw of nationsby custom
The expression "civil law" is a translation of Latin jus civile, or "citizens' law", which was the late imperial term for its legal system, as opposed to the laws governing conquered peoples (jus gentium); hence, the Justinian Code's title Corpus Juris Civilis.
In classical antiquity, the ius gentium was regarded as an aspect of natural law (ius naturale), as distinguished from civil law (ius civile).

Law

legallawslegal theory
Also, the notion of a nation-state implied recorded law that would be applicable to that state.
A general distinction can be made between (a) civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, and (b) common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law.

Jurisprudence constante

case law
A line of similar case decisions, while not precedent per se, constitute jurisprudence constante.
This doctrine is recognized in most civil law jurisdictions as well as in certain mixed jurisdictions, e.g., Louisiana.

Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch

German Civil CodeBGBCivil Code
Germany (1900), and Switzerland (1912) adopted their own codifications.
The BGB served as a template in several other civil law jurisdictions, including Japan, South Korea, the Republic of China, the People's Republic of China, Thailand, Brazil, Greece, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine.

Constitution

constitutionalconstitutionsconstitutional government
The Justinian Code's doctrines provided a sophisticated model for contracts, rules of procedure, family law, wills, and a strong monarchical constitutional system.
St. Sava's Nomocanon was the compilation of Civil law, based on Roman Law and Canon law, based on Ecumenical Councils and its basic purpose was to organize functioning of the young Serbian kingdom and the Serbian church.

Quebec

QuébecProvince of QuebecQC
Quebec law, whose private law is also of French civil origin, has developed along the same lines, adapting in the same way as Louisiana to the public law and judicial system of Canadian common law.
The act also allowed the French speakers, known as Canadiens, to maintain French civil law and sanctioned freedom of religion, allowing the Roman Catholic Church to remain, one of the first cases in history of state-sanctioned freedom of religious practice.