Civil Law


Civil law refers to a comprehensive legal system that deals with private disputes and conflicts between individuals or entities, excluding criminal matters. It encompasses a wide range of legal issues, including contracts, property, family law, torts, and personal injury. In civil law cases, the primary objective is to provide remedies, such as compensation or specific performance, to the aggrieved party rather than seeking punishment.

Civil law proceedings typically involve one party, the plaintiff, bringing a legal action against another party, the defendant, to resolve a disagreement or seek compensation for harm suffered. Courts in civil law systems interpret and apply statutes and legal codes to determine liability and damages.


Civil law contrasts with criminal law, which addresses offenses against the state. Countries with a civil law tradition, such as many in continental Europe and Latin America, have legal systems based on codified statutes, where judges’ role is to interpret and apply the law rather than create legal precedent through decisions as in common law systems.

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