Civil Law (Political Science)

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  • A branch of law that defines relations between citizens, as opposed to criminal law, which concerns relations between citizens and the state. In English, the concept derives from the French droit civil.

    As used in the American legal system, civil law is noncriminal law, such as the law of property, commercial law, administrative law, and the rules governing procedure in civil cases. But civil law also refers to a body of law distinct from the common-law systems of the English-speaking world.

    Civil law legal systems were derived from Roman law. This particular legal tradition developed in Europe and spread throughout the world as a by-product of the European expansion that took place beginning in the 15th century. European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain follow ...

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