Definition of civil law in English:

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civil law

Pronunciation: /ˈsivil lô/


1The system of law concerned with private relations between members of a community rather than criminal, military, or religious affairs. Contrasted with criminal law.
Example sentences
  • Punishment is a function par excellence of the criminal law, rather than civil law.
  • The Act therefore melds the criminal law and civil law very closely together and appears to provide a choice of remedies to meet the needs and preferences of victims.
  • But it would be unsafe to state the rule by reference to a distinction between matters of civil law and criminal law, because offences are often defined in such a way as to blur the two.
1.1The system of law predominant on the European continent and of which a form is in force in Louisiana, historically influenced by the codes of ancient Rome. Compare with common law.
Example sentences
  • The legal system is based on English common law, with some civil law influence.
  • Yet the historical influence of the civil law in the world has been unmistakable, and much of the emulation has taken place out of simple admiration, notably that which took place in the common law world.
  • Also in many countries of continental Europe and most other civil law countries the law draws a distinction between private law proceedings and criminal proceedings.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: civ·il law

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