the set of rules of a state or nation controlling common private matters, clearly different from laws guiding criminal, political, or military matters.
How Civil Law Works
In a civil law court case, the judge's role is to determine the facts of the case and use the applicable code provisions. The judge can bring in the formal charges, examine the case, and give the final judgment. In essence, the judge works within a conceptual structure established by a comprehensive, codified set of laws.
Example of Civil Law
For instance, a city's civil code may say you need to walk down the road. True, it could be that running down the road is much more effective. However, there is no room for creating analogical arguments saying running would have a better result than walking since it is in the civil code of the city.
Normally, it is perfectly okay to run since you likely will not hurt anyone or damage any property by doing so. But since the city law says so, any crime committed against it is referred to as a civil case.
Significance of Civil Law
There are several important apects of civil law. One of them is the fact that you can only be judged by the laws already written down. In addition, civil law helps in resolving arguments and ensuring disputes between individuals do not escalate into a fight. This encourages order within the society. It also fosters mutual understanding between members of society, prevents exploitative acts, and stops bad business practices.
The civil law system also improves communication; it requires professionals to report accurate information and allows people to challenge any news suspected to be false. The system respects the personality of people to the highest value.
Criminal Law vs. Civil Law
Though criminal law and civil law are both centered on law, each is centered of different issues. Criminal law deals with actions that threaten harm to the people of the state's property, safety, and moral welfare. Criminal law includes theft, assault, or the spreading of dangerous or threatening information. Its primary role is to punish acts that the country or state has judged to be illegal.
In other words, it imposes an objective set of laws that each citizen is required or expected to obey. Civil law, on the other hand, is different from criminal law. It does not specialize or focus on the connection between state and individual; rather, civil law is concerned with private relations between community members. It includes reputation, malicious statements, etc.
The parties can resolve a civil law case themselves. If the parties can decide to settle their differences during a case, they agree not to prolong the case to avoid future expenses or dangers. However, settlement always involves paying money and can even be organized in the form of an enforceable judgment. A civil court judge cannot impose custodial sentences.
History of Civil Law
The backstory of civil law can be traced back to Romans, starting from 5 B.C. to 6th century A.D. Roman law consisted of various decisions made by the Senate and more. However, the foremost important part of Roman law, called Digesta, is a collection of legal doctrines made by the legal scholars qualified by the Emperor to reply to his inquiries in legal matters.