civil law

noun, often capitalized C&L

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

Examples of civil law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The civil law contingent includes Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Greece, among many others. Fortune, "Carlos Ghosn Is Now a Fugitive In Exile. Here Are His Legal Options, According to Experts," 10 Jan. 2020 The civil law states are also the ones that, in general, ban extradition of their citizens, while the common law countries, including the U.S. and U.K., do allow their citizens to be extradited if their courts so rule. Fortune, "Carlos Ghosn Is Now a Fugitive In Exile. Here Are His Legal Options, According to Experts," 10 Jan. 2020 In making the announcement, the Vatican said the reform would facilitate cooperation with civil law enforcement. Washington Post, "Vatican tribunal now overwhelmed by clergy abuse cases," 20 Dec. 2019 It was determined that the issue was a civil law matter, but the man filled out a police statement to document the problem. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Man seeks treatment for dog bite: Russell Township Police Blotter," 16 Dec. 2019 But Wooley violated civil law and Clawson's city charter in hiring the email detective firm, according to city documents, Clawson officials and experts on the Open Meetings Act. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Before losing election, Clawson mayor sought secret deal to hurt opponent," 10 Dec. 2019 Because the two died in Louisiana, that state’s civil laws applied to the case. oregonlive, "Oregon company must pay $14.6 million after 2 workers dangling from helicopter rope fall to their deaths," 20 Nov. 2019 When Israelis are suspected, that figure drops to 8.5%, and Israeli civil law applies. Washington Post, "Israeli Settlements," 19 Nov. 2019 In Ward 4, Olszewski, 39, an attorney who focuses primarily in civil law, has served on several local school councils, as well as a commission on the city’s Human Rights Commission and is a board member of Families Organizing for Racial Justice., "In the School Committee race, the only incumbent running for reelection is the board’s chairwoman, Ruth Goldman, who faces Galina Rosenblit in the race to represent Ward 6 on the School Committee.," 1 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of civil law

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for civil law

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The first known use of civil law was circa 1500

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Statistics for civil law

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Civil law.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for civil law

civil law


English Language Learners Definition of civil law

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on civil law

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with civil law Encyclopedia article about civil law

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