civil law(redirected from English civil law)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to English civil law: English Civil War
civil lawlegal arrangements whereby the State acts as an impartial judge of a dispute between two parties, the plaintiff, who sues and the defendant; the plaintiff usually requires damages which are a form of monetary compensation paid to him by the defendant. Civil law can be invoked for breach of CONTRACT or behaviour which constitutes a TORT and if the plaintiff wins his case he will receive damages to compensate him financially for the harm done to him by the defendant. As an alternative to damages the court may instead grant an injunction ordering the defendant to stop doing the act which is harming the plaintiff. Civil law judgements are enforced by the threat of imprisonment for contempt of court.
A system of laws with its origins in Roman and French statutes rather than the judicial decisions of English common law.See common law.