civil code

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A civil code is a codification of private law relating to contractspropertyfamily, and obligations. Commonly, a state that has a civil code generally also has a code of civil procedure. In some states with a civil code, some core fields of private law would be codified in a commercial code

The Civil Code of California (CIV) and The Louisiana Civil Code are two examples of this.

A civil code is made up of statutes that govern the general obligations and rights of persons within the jurisdiction. For example, the California Civil Code is divided into four divisions: 

  • Persons
  • Property 
  • Obligations
  • General Provisions

Division 1 contains laws that govern the field of personal rights; Division 2 contains laws that govern property rights; Division 3 codifies rules in California like the regulations relating to agency, mortgages, extensions of credit; Division 4 defines remedies available in lawsuits. The Code is organized similarly to many other civil codes, and many of its provisions are codifications of well-established common law principles. 

[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]