The “Roman Law” and the “Civil Law” are convertible phrases, meaning the same system of jurisprudence; it is now frequently denominated the “Roman Civil Law.” The word “civil,” as applied to the laws In force in Louisiana, before the adoption of the Civil Code, is not used in contradistinction to the word “criminal,” but must be restricted to the Roman law. It is used in contradistinction to the laws of England and those of the respective states. Jennison v. Warmack, 5 La. 493. 1. The system of jurisprudence held and administered in the Roman empire, particularly as set forth in the compilation of Justinian and his successors comprising the Institutes, Code, Digest, and Novels, and collectively denominated the “Corpus Juris Civis” as distinguished from the common law of England and the canon law. 2. That rule of action which every particular nation, commonwealth, or city has established peculiarly for itself; more properly called “municipal” law, to distinguish it from the “law of nature,” and from international law. The law which a people enacts is called the “civil law” of that people, but that law which natural reason appoints for all mankind Is called the “law of nations,” because all nations use it Bowyer, Mod. Civil Law, 19. 3. That division of municipal law which is occupied with the exposition and enforcement of civil rights, as distinguished from criminal law.
Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition
(A) The municipal code of the Romans is so called. It is a rule of action, adopted by mankind in a state of society. It denotes also the municipal law of the land. (B) The term civil law is generally applied by way of eminence to the civil or municipal law of the Roman empire, without distinction as to the time when the principles of such law were established or modified. In another sense, the civil law is that collection of laws comprised in the institutes, the code, and the digest of the emperor Justinian, and the novel constitutions of himself and some of his successors. 2. The Institutes contain the elements or first principles of the Roman law, in four books. The Digests or Pandects are in fifty books, and contain the opinions and writings of eminent lawyers digested in a systematical method, whose works comprised more than two thousand volumes, The new code, or collection of imperial constitutions, in twelve books; which was a substitute for the code of Theodosius. The novels or new constitutions, posterior in time to the other books, and amounting to a supplement to the code, containing new decrees of successive emperors as new questions happened to arise. These form the body of the Roman law, or corpus juris civilis, as published about the time of Justinian. 3. Although successful in the west, these laws were not, even in the lifetime of the emperor universally received; and after the Lombard invasion they became so totally neglected, that both the Code and Pandects were lost till the twelfth century, A. D. 1130; when it is said the Pandects were accidentally discovered at Amalphi, and the Code at Ravenna. But, as if fortune would make an atonement for her former severity, they have since been the study of the wisest men, and revered as law, by the politest nations. 4. By the term civil law is also understood the particular law of each people, opposed to natural law, or the law of nations, which are common to all. 4. In this sense it, is used by Judge Swift. See below. 5. Civil law is also sometimes understood as that which has emanated from the secular power opposed to the ecclesiastical or military. 6. Sometimes by the term civil law is meant those laws which relate to civil matters only; and in this sense it is opposed to criminal law, or to those laws which concern criminal matters. Vide Civil.