Get to know the fundamentals of civil law with this comprehensive guide. Uncover key principles and techniques required for successful navigation of the legal system.
Navigating the civil law system can be a daunting task without understanding the core legal principles. In this guide, we’ll explore the fundamental concept of civil law and provide tips on how to effectively leverage its resources and practices.
Defining Civil Law
Civil law is a legal system that is based on written codes, regulations and statutes. These laws define and govern the rights of individuals during their interactions with each other, as well as in the business-to-business setting. Civil laws may vary across differing jurisdictions, but they are typically based on common principles such as protecting fairness and justice in all disputes.
At its core, civil law is the body of law that governs private disputes between individuals or businesses. It is divided into two broad categories: contract law, which deals with written agreements between parties; and tort law, which covers issues like wrongful death, negligence, and trespass. Both contract and tort laws determine how people interact with each other in the context of a business transaction or relationship, such as a loan agreement or an employment relationship. Civil law also includes rules meant to protect individuals from harm caused by others—such as malpractice laws—or from unknowingly entering into contracts they don’t understand—like consumer protection laws.
Basic Substantive Areas of Civil Law
Civil law covers a broad range of areas, including contract law, torts, family law, and property law. Contract law covers enforceable promises and agreements between two or more individuals regarding goods or services, while tort law holds a person accountable for any harm caused to another person due to their intentional or unintentional negligent acts. Family law mainly deals with issues related to marriage, divorce, child custody, and adoption.
Property is divided into two main categories – real estate and personal property. Real estate involves the buying and selling of land and homes as well as zoning regulations and tenant-landlord laws. Personal property includes goods that are bought and sold such as cars or furniture. In the U.S., principles of civil law are based on common law, which is based on judiciary rulings as opposed to statutes or written laws passed in legislatures. For a case to have standing in civil court, there must be an actual legal dispute between two or more parties, usually over an issue related to money damages or other specific remedy.
The main goal of civil law is to resolve disputes between parties rather than imposing punishment as with criminal law. Most cases tend to settle without actually going before a jury because the parties often recognize that going through the entire trial process could end up costing much more time and money than if they reached a settlement beforehand.
Statute of Limitations in Civil Suits
When filing a civil suit, it’s important to remember that there is usually a statute of limitations attached. The statute of limitations is the time period within which legal action must be taken before one party can no longer seek relief or damages from the defendant. Generally, suits involving contractual agreements will have shorter statutes of limitations than cases involving tort law as different jurisdictions set different timeframes for each cause of action. Knowing and adhering to these deadlines is essential in order to properly present a case before a court.