Civil Law

What is Civil Law (with examples)

Civil law is a system of laws and norms that regulates everything related to people, the legal ties between them and with private property. These laws are usually established in the civil code of each country.

The elements or topics contemplated by civil law are persons, goods, property, possession, succession, obligations and contracts.

Civil law studies and stipulates the attributes of people, provides a legal structure to the family and property, and regulates relationships between individuals.

Like commercial law, civil law is a branch of private law. It is opposed to public law, which regulates the relations of people with public entities. It also differs from ecclesiastical law, which regulates religious affairs; military law, which organizes the armed forces, and political law, which deals with the theory of the State.

Civil law is of fundamental importance in the construction of order and social peace. This is because its principles regulate, order and facilitate social relations. Likewise, they provide a frame of reference to resolve conflicts between the rights and obligations of each natural or legal person.

Characteristics of civil law

Civil law is distinguished from other branches of law by the following characteristics.

  • It is a right of people and their relationships: Its main objective is to study and guide everything related to natural or legal persons, as well as order the relationships between them.
  • It is a private right: regulates, protects and protects individual and private rights and interests under the principle of equality before the law.
  • It is a common law: studies and orders general and common legal institutions that do not abide by special regulations.
  • It is a general right: The aspects, relationships and institutions that civil law addresses are the same for all individuals, regardless of their origin, religion, education, etc.
  • Includes the autonomy of the will: recognizes that the norms can be modified by individuals in attention to their free will, except for everything related to the family.
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It may interest you: Natural person and moral or legal person

parts of civil law

According to the subject in question, civil law is divided into the following parts:

  • Right of people: It is the recognition of the existence of the person from its conception to its death, its legal capacity and its attributes (marital status, domicile, nationality, etc.).
  • Family right: regarding the legal consequences of family relationships, whether kinship or arising from marriage.
  • Real right or property right: referring to the right of things or goods, such as property and its acquisition, possession and possession.
  • Right of succession: It covers the legal effects of the death of a natural person and matters related to the transfer of their assets and rights to third parties.
  • Law of obligations: regulates legal property relationships, such as facts, acts and legal transactions, their consequences and effects.
  • Civil liability law: includes the obligations that fall on a person for damages to third parties.
  • Intellectual rights: refers to intellectual property rights (works of art, inventions, technologies, symbols, names, images, and other categories of marketable intellectual products).

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  • Property rights

Examples of application of civil law

Civil law applies to different aspects of private life. Some specific examples of situations governed by civil law are the following:

  • Regulation of concubinage and marriage, including prenuptial agreements.
  • Regulation of divorce and separation of matrimonial property.
  • Regulation of the guard and custody of minors, as well as adoption processes.
  • Regulation of successions and inheritances.
  • Recognition and monitoring of contracts entered into between individuals (purchase-sale, rental, etc.).
  • Recognition of nationality, residence permits, among others.
  • Processes of change of identity (name), marital status, registration (address).
  • Mediation for compliance with liability for damages to third parties.
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History of civil law

The practice of civil law has its antecedents in the Roman Empire. In this context the Latin term was used jus civile to refer to private rights, reserved exclusively for Roman citizens. Since then he jus civile distinguished from public law.

The modern formulation of civil law comes from the interpretation of natural human rights or natural law. Natural rights were theorized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century.

Among the natural human rights interpreted and regulated in civil law are:

  • Right to private life;
  • Right to freedom;
  • Right to freedom of expression; of thought, conscience and religion;
  • Right to the image;
  • Right to family and marriage;
  • Right to association and assembly;
  • Right to free transit.

The legal interpretation of natural human rights is always linked to the moral system and the dominant values ​​of each historical context.

See also: General principles of law