Civil Law (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
A body of rules that delineate private rights and remedies, and govern disputes between individuals in such areas as contracts, property, and FAMILY LAW; distinct from criminal or public law. Civil law systems, which trace their roots to ancient Rome, are governed by doctrines developed and compiled by legal scholars. Legislators and administrators in civil law countries use these doctrines to fashion a code by which all legal controversies are decided.
The civil law system is derived from the Roman Corpus Juris Civilus of Emperor JUSTINIAN I; it differs from a common-law system, which relies on prior decisions to determine the outcome of a lawsuit. Most European and South American countries have a civil law system. England and most of the countries it dominated or colonized, including Canada and the United States, have a common-law system. However, within these countries, Louisiana, Quebec, and Puerto Rico exhibit the influence of French and Spanish settlers in their use of civil law systems.
In the United States, the term civil law has two meanings. One meaning of civil law refers to a legal system prevalent in Europe that is based on written codes. Civil law in this sense is contrasted with the common-law system used in England and most of...
(The entire section is 1089 words.)
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Civil Law (Great American Court Cases)
Civil Law Versus Criminal Law
Civil law refers to a wide array of rules that govern legal matters among private citizens such as injuries, broken contracts, trademark infringement, and fraud. Civil law cases involve either a breach of duty or contract. In addition, civil law actionsuits in civil courtre brought about by private citizens, whereas criminal prosecutions are brought about by the government. Furthermore, civil law remedies for wrongful acts include monetary damages or reimbursements, and injuctions or court orders requiring or banning certain kinds of conduct. In contrast to criminal cases, the defendanthe party accused of being liable for wrongful actss not subject to fines or imprisonment.
Overview and Background
The most common kind of civil court cases in the United States are tort cases, which include cases of intentional wrongs, negligence and liability such as fraud, defamation, trespassing, and false imprisonment. Tort is the Middle English word meaning "wrong." The plaintiffhe party that suffered the wrongful act and seeks relief in courts entitled to be restored to the position he or she was in before the tort, whether through economic compensation, medical care, or any other means. This right makes up a fundamental principle of U.S. tort law. Unlike contracts, torts do not involve the violation of any agreed...
(The entire section is 1639 words.)