civil law

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civil law

legal 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.

civil law

A system of laws with its origins in Roman and French statutes rather than the judicial decisions of English common law.See common law.

References in periodicals archive ?
That defect ostensibly is remedied in civil-law jurisdictions by utilizing an "inquisitorial system, whereby the judge (or magistrate) takes the lead in gathering evidence and forming the issues of the case.
In civil-law regimes, pretrial proceedings are kept to a minimum, and court appearances are infrequent while evidence is being gathered by the magistrate or judge because an "appearance is usually for the purpose of examining only one witness or of introducing only one or two pieces of material evidence" (Merryman and Perez-Perdomo [1969] 2007, 114).
Another key difference between civil-law and common-law procedures is the former's distinctive trial hearings, when "questions are put to witnesses by the judge rather than by counsel for the parties," although questions from the bench "are often asked ...
To be sure, a populist legislature may undercut the rule of law in civil-law countries by its impact on judicial decisions, but judicial decisions in common-law countries may also be highly uncertain because of the huge discretion that judges have in deciding which precedents apply to a case at hand.
He notes that constitutions in common-law countries tend to protect individual liberties better than constitutions in civil-law countries do so.

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