Civil Law Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Civil Law, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Civil Law?

A law which does not deal with criminal aspects.It is rules maintained and followed by the society to legally bind the wrong doers.

History and Meaning of Civil Law

Civil law is a legal system originating in Europe and is based on written laws and codes. It focuses on the rights and duties of individuals with regard to civil legal matters. Civil law is different from common law, which is based on judicial rulings and precedents.

Civil law systems are derived from ancient Roman law, which was codified by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. This legal system was later modified by Napoleon in the 19th century and spread throughout Europe and many of its colonies. Today, many countries use a civil law system, including France, Germany, Japan, and Brazil.

Examples of Civil Law

  1. A person who breaches a contract may be sued for damages under civil law.
  2. In a divorce case, civil law governs the division of assets and the determination of child custody.
  3. Civil law regulates the creation and dissolution of business entities and partnerships.

Legal Terms Similar to Civil Law

  1. Common law: A legal system based on judicial rulings and precedent.
  2. Statutory law: Written laws enacted by legislatures.
  3. Criminal law: A legal system related to crimes and punishable offenses.