The Law Dictionary

Your Free Online Legal Dictionary • Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

CIVIL LAW Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

1. In the modern Western world, it is one of the two major legal systems; the other is common law. Taken from Roman law, it is used in continental Europe, their former colonies, Isle of Man, Latin America, Scotland, state of Louisiana in the US federation, and in Canada’s Quebec province. In this system, the law is a highly structured and rigid code of rules observed to the letter. An expert judge decides cases without the help of jury and without any reference to precedent. In this system, every defendant in a criminal trial is presumed guilty until proven innocent. Under common law, practiced in most English-speaking countries, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 2. As Private law that contrasts to administrative law, criminal law, ecclesiastical law, and military law, and deals with relationships among individuals.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.