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civil law

the body of laws of a state or nation regulating ordinary private matters, as distinct from laws regulating criminal, political, or military matters.
Roman History. the body of law proper to the city or state of Rome, as distinct from that common to all nations.
Compare jus civile.
systems of law influenced significantly and in various ways by Roman law, especially as contained in the Corpus Juris Civilis, as distinct from the common law and canon or ecclesiastical law.
Origin of civil law
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1375-1425
Related forms
civil-law, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for civil law
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The object of civil law is to regulate the relations of men to each ether.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • In 1847 professor of civil law at Cambridge; 1850, called to the Bar.

    Ancient Law Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
  • The proportion of criminal to civil law is exceedingly different.

    Ancient Law Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
  • I cannot invoke the civil law to do more than to say that it shall be a day of rest.

    'America for Americans!' John Philip Newman
  • As for civil law, I would have thee know the digests by heart.

  • But it was enforced not so much by civil law as by religion.

    The New World of Islam Lothrop Stoddard
  • In the civil law, was where the thing pledged remained with the debtor.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
British Dictionary definitions for civil law

civil law

the law of a state relating to private and civilian affairs
the body of law in force in ancient Rome, esp the law applicable to private citizens
any system of law based on the Roman system as distinguished from the common law and canon law
the law of a state as distinguished from international law
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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