civil law

noun, often capitalized C&L
Updated on: 12 Nov 2017

Definition of civil law

1 :Roman law especially as set forth in the Justinian code
2 :the body of private law developed from Roman law and used in Louisiana and in many countries outside the English-speaking world
3 :the law established by a nation or state for its own jurisdiction
4 :the law of civil or private rights

Recent Examples of civil law from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civil law.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of civil law

circa 1500


CIVIL LAW Defined for English Language Learners

civil law

noun

Definition of civil law for English Language Learners

  • : laws that deal with the rights of people rather than with crimes


Law Dictionary

civil law

noun, often capitalized C&L

legal Definition of civil law

1 :Roman law especially as set forth in the Code of Justinian
2 :the body of law developed from Roman law and used in Louisiana, in continental Europe, and in many other countries outside of the English-speaking world including especially those that were colonized by countries of continental Europe — compare common law
Note: Although Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. whose law is based entirely on civil law, remnants of civil law remain in other states (as Texas and California) in which countries of continental Europe had a strong influence.
3 :the law established by a nation or state for its own jurisdiction
4 :the law that applies to private rights especially as opposed to the law that applies to criminal matters — compare criminal law

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