Research Subjects: Government & Politics


Book I

Book II

Book III


The Civil Code

Napoleon in later life considered the Civil Code to be the most significant of his achievements. The Code represented a comprehensive reformation and codification of the French civil laws. Under the ancien regime more than 400 codes of laws were in place in various parts of France, with common law predominating in the north and Roman law in the south. The Revolution overturned many of these laws. In addition, the revolutionary governments had enacted more than 14,000 pieces of legislation. Five attempts were made to codify the new laws of France during the periods of the National Convention and the Directory. Through the efforts of Napoleon the drafting the new Civil Code in an expert commission, in which Jean-Etienne-Marie Portalis took a leading role, took place in the second half of 1801. Napoleon attended in person 36 of the commission's 87 meetings. Although the draft was completed at the end of 1801, the Code was not published until 21 March 1804. The Civil Code represents a typically Napoleonic mix of liberalism and conservatism, although most of the basic revolutionary gains - equality before the law, freedom of religion and the abolition of feudalism - were consolidated within its laws. Property rights, including the rights of the purchasers of the biens nationaux were made absolute. The Code also reinforced patriarchal power by making the husband the ruler of the household. The Napoleonic Code was to be promulgated, with modifications, throughout the Empire. The Civil Code was followed by a Code of Civil Procedure in 1806, a Commercial Code in 1807, a Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure in 1808 and a Penal Code in 1810. A Rural Code was debated, but never promulgated. The Code Napoleon, renamed the Civil Code, was retained in its majority after the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815. The Civil Code has served as the model for the codes of law of more than twenty nations throughout the world.


PRELIMINARY TITLE. OF THE PUBLICATION, EFFECT, AND APPLICATION OF THE LAWS IN GENERAL

BOOK I. Of Persons.

TITLE I. OF THE ENJOYMENT AND PRIVATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS

    CHAPTER I. Of the enjoyment of civil rights
    CHAPTER II. Of the privation of civil rights
        Section 1. Of the privation of civil rights by the loss of the quality of Frenchman
        Section 2. Of the privation of civil rights in consequence of judicial proceedings

TITLE II. OF ACTS BEFORE THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES

TITLE III. OF DOMICIL

TITLE IV. OF ABSENT PERSONS

    CHAPTER I. Of presumption of absence
    CHAPTER II. Of the declaration of absence
    CHAPTER III. Of the effects of absence
        Section 1. Of the effects of absence, as respects the property possessed by the absentee at the date of his disappearance
        Section 2. Of the effects of absence with regard to eventual rights which may belong to the absentee
        Section 3. Of the effects of absence, as they relate to marriage
    CHAPTER IV. Of tbe superintendence of minors whose father has disappeared

TITLE V. OF MARRIAGE

    CHAPTER I. Of the qualities and conditions required in order to be able to contract marriage
    CHAPTER II. Of the formalities relative to the celebration of marriage
    CHAPTER III. Of oppositions to marriage
    CHAPTER IV. Of petitions for nullity of marriage
    CHAPTER V. Of the obligations accruing from marriage
    CHAPTER VI. or the respective rights and duties of married persons
    CHAPTER VII. Of the dissolution of marriage
    CHAPTER VIII. Of second marriages

TITLE VI. OF DIVORCE

    CHAPTER I. Of the causes of divorce
    CHAPTER II. Of the divorce for cause determinate
        Section 1. Of the forms of the divorce for cause determinate
        Section 2. Of the provisional measures to which the petition for divorce for cause determinate may give rise
        Section 3. Of exceptions at law against the suit for divorce for cause determinate
    CHAPTER III. Of divorce by mutual consent
    CHAPTER IV. Of the effects of divorce
    CHAPTER V. Of the separation of persons

TITLE VII. OF PATERNITY AND FILIATION

    CHAPTER I. Of the filiation of legitimate children, or those born in marriage
    CHAPTER II. Of the proofs of the filiation of legitimate children
    CHAPTER III. Of natural children
        Section 1. Of the legitimation of natural children
        Section 2. Of the acknowledgment of natural children

TITLE VIII. OF ADOPTION AND FRIENDLY GUARDIANSHIP

TITLE IX. OF PATERNAL POWER

TITLE X. 0F MINORITY, GUARDIANSHIP, AND EMANCIPATION

    CHAPTER I. Of minority
    CHAPTER II. Of guardianship
        Section 1. Of the guardianship of father and mother
        Section 2. Of the guardianship appointed by the father or mother
        Section 3. Of the guardianship of ancestors
        Section 4. Of guardianship appointed by the family council
        Section 5. Of the supplementary guardian
        Section 6. Of the causes which excuse from guardianship
        Section 7. Of incapacity, exclusion, and deprivation of guardianship
        Section 8. Of the guardian's administration
        Section 9. Of the accounts of the guardianship
    CHAPTER III. Of emancipation

TITLE XI. OF MAJORITY, INTERDICTION, AND THE JUDICIAL ADVISER

 

BOOK II. Of Property, and the Different Modifications of Property.

TITLE I. OF THE DISTINCTION OF PROPERTY

TITLE II. OF PROPERTY

    CHAPTER I. Of the right of accession over the produce of any thing
    CHAPTER II. Of the right of accession over what is connected and incorporated with any thing
        Section 1. Of the right of accession relatively to things immoveable
        Section 2. Of the right of accession relatively to moveable property

TITLE III. OF USUFRUCT, RIGHT OF COMMON, AND OF HABITATION

TITLE IV. OF SERVITUDES OR MANORIAL SERVICES

    CHAPTER I. Of servitudes derived from the situation of places
    CHAPTER II. Of servitudes established by law
        Section 1. Of the party-wall and ditch
        Section 2. Of the distance and intermediary works required for certain buildings
        Section 3. Of views over a neighbor's property
        Section 4. Of the droppings of house-eaves
        Section 5. Of the right of way
    CHAPTER III. Of servitudes established by the act of man
        Section 1. Of the different species of servitudes which may be established over property
        Section 2. Of the mode of establishing servitudes
        Section 3. Of the rights of the proprietor of the estate to which the servitude is due
        Section 4. Of the manner in which servitudes are extinguished

 

BOOK III. Of the Different Modes of Acquiring Property.

GENERAL DISPOSITIONS

TITLE I. OF SUCCESSIONS

    CHAPTER I. Of the opening of successions and of the seisin of heirs
    CHAPTER II. Of the qualities requisite to succeed
    CHAPTER III. Of the different orders of succession
        Section 1. General dispositions
        Section 2. Of representation
        Section 3. Of successions devolving upon descendants
        Section 4. Of successions devolving upon ancestors
        Section 5. Of collateral successions
    CHAPTER IV. Of irregular successions
        Section 1. Of the rights of natural children over the property of their father or mother, and of the succession to natural children dead without issue
        Section 2. Of the rights of the surviving conjunct and of the republic
    CHAPTER V. Of the acceptance and repudiation of successions
        Section 1. Of acceptance
        Section 2. Of the renunciation of successions
        Section 3. Of the privilege of inventory, of its effects, and of the obligations of the beneficiary heir
        Section 4. Of vacant successions
    CHAPTER VI. Of division and restitution
        Section 1. Of the action for division and of its form
        Section 2. Of restitutions
        Section 3. Of payment of debts
        Section 4. Of the effects of distribution and of the warranty of the lots
        Section 5. Of annulment of distribution

TITLE II. OF DONATIONS DURING LIFE AND OF WILLS

    CHAPTER I. General regulations
    CHAPTER II. Of the capability of disposing or of receiving by donation during life or by will
    CHAPTER III. Of the disposable portion of goods, and of reduction
        Section 1. Of the disposable portion of goods
        Section 2. Of the reduction of donations and legacies
    CHAPTER IV. Of donations during life
        Section 1. Of the form of donations during life
        Section 2. Of exceptions to the rule on the irrevocability of donations during life
    CHAPTER V. Of testamentary dispositions
        Section 1. Of general rules on the form of wills
        Section 2. Of particular rules touching the form of certain wills
        Section 3. Of appointment of heir, and of legacies in general
        Section 4. Of the general legacy
        Section 5. Of legacy by general title
        Section 6. Of particular legacies
        Section 7. Of testamentary executors
        Section 8. Of the revocation and of the lapse of wills
    CHAPTER VI. Of dispositions permitted in favor of the grand-children of the donor or testator, or of the children of their brothers and sisters
    CHAPTER VII. Of distributions made by the father, mother, or other ancestors, among their descendants
    CHAPTER VIII. Of donations made by the marriage-contract to the parties, and to children to he born of the marriage
    CHAPTER IX. Of dispositions between married persons, either by contract of marriage, or during marriage

TITLE III. OF CONTRACTS OR CONVENTIONAL OBLIGATIONS IN GENERAL

    CHAPTER I. Preliminary regulations
    CHAPTER II. Of conditions essential to the Validity of agreements
        Section 1. Of consent
        Section 2. Of the capacity of the contracting parties
        Section 3. Of the object and matter of contracts
        Section 4. Of the cause
    CHAPTER III. Of the effect of obligations
        Section 1. General regulations
        Section 2. Of the obligation of giving
        Section 3. Of the obligation to do or not to do
        Section 4. Of damages and interest resulting from the non-performance of the obligation
        Section 5. Of the interpretation of agreements
        Section 6. Of the effect of agreements as respects third persons
    CHAPTER IV. Of the different species of obligations
        Section 1. Of conditional obligations
            1. Of conditions generally, and of their different kinds
            2. Of the suspensive condition
            3. Of the condition dissolutory
        Section 2. Of obligations for a term
        Section 3. Of alternative obligations
        Section 4. Of obligations joint and several
            1. Of creditors jointly and severally interested
            2. Of debtors jointly and severally interested
        Section 5. Of obligations divisible and indivisible
            1. Of the effects of the divisible obligation
            2. Of the effects of an indivisible obligation
        Section 6. Of obligations with penal clauses
    CHAPTER 5. Of the extinction of obligations
        Section 1. Of payment
            1. Of payment in general
            2. Of payment with substitution
            3. Of the application of payments
            4. Of tenders of payment, and of deposit
            5. Of the cession of property
        Section 2. Of novation
        Section 3. Of the remission of a debt
        Section 4. Of compensation
        Section 5. Of confusion
        Section 6. Of the loss of the thing due
        Section 7. Of the action for nullity, or for rescission of agreements
    CHAPTER 6. Of the proof of obligations and of that of payment
        Section 1. Of literal proof
            1. Of an authentic document
            2. Of an act under private signature
            3. Of tallies
            4. Of copies of documents
            5. Of acts of recognition and confirmation
        Section 2. Of testimonial proof
        Section 3. Of presumptions
            1. Of presumptions established by law
            2. Of presumptions which are not established by law
        Section 4. Of the acknowledgment of the party
        Section 5. Of oath
            1. Of the oath decisory
            2. Of the oath officially administered

TITLE IV. OF ENGAGEMENTS WHICH ARE FORMED WITHOUT CONTRACT

TITLE V. OF THE CONTRACT OF MARRIAGE AND OF THE RESPECTIVE RIGHTS OF MARRIED PERSONS

Part 1. Of legal community

        Section 1. Of that which composes community actively and passively
            1. Of the active part of community
            2. Of the passive part of community, and of actions which result therefrom against the community
        Section 2. Of the administration of the community, and of the effect of the acts of either of the married parties relating to the conjugal union
        Section 3. Of the dissolution of community and of some of its consequences
        Section 4. Of the acceptance of community, and of the renunciation which may be made thereof, with the conditions relating thereto
        Section 5. Of the distribution of the community after acceptance
            1. Of the partition of the active
            2. Of the passive in the community, and of contribution to debts
        Section 6. Of the renunciation of community and of its effects
    Regulation relative to legal community, when one of the married parties or both of them have children of previous marriages

Part 2. Of conventional community, and of agreements which may modify and even exclude legal community

        Section 1. Of community confined to property acquired
        Section 2. Of the clause which excludes from the community the moveable property in whole or in part
        Section 3. Of the clause making moveable
        Section 4. Of the article of separation of debts
        Section 5. Of the power granted to the wife of resuming her contribution free and unencumbered
        Section 6. Of conventional reversion (preciput)
        Section 7. Of the articles by which unequal portions in the community are assigned to either of the married parties
        Section 8. Of community by general title
    Regulations common to the eight preceding sections
        Section 9. Of agreements excluding community
            1. Of the clause implying that the parties marry without community
            2. Of the clause of separation of property
    CHAPTER III. Of regulation of dowry
        Section 1. Of settlement of dowry
        Section 2. Of the rights of the husband over the property in dowry, and of the inalienable nature of the funds of the dower
        Section 3. Of the restitution of dower
        Section 4. Of paraphernalia Particular regulation

TITLE VI. OF SALES

TITLE VII. OF BARTER

TITLE VIII. OF THE CONTRACT OF HIRING

    CHAPTER I. General regulations
    CHAPTER II. Of the hiring of things
        Section 1. Of the rules common to leases of houses and rural property
        Section 2. Of particular rules in leases
        Section 3. Of the rules peculiar to farming leases
    CHAPTER III. Of the hiring of labor and industry
        Section 1. Of the hiring of domestics and artificers
        Section 2. Of carriers by land and by water
        Section 3. Of estimates and works by contract
    CHAPTER IV. Of lease in cheptel
        Section 1. General regulations
        Section 2. Of simple cheptel
        Section 3. Of cheptel by moiety
        Section 4. Of cheptel given by the proprietor to his farmer or joint cultivator
            1. Of cheptel given to the farmer
            2. Of cheptel given to the joint cultivator
        Section 5. Of the contract improperly called cheptel

TITLE IX. OF THE CONTRACT OF PARTNERSHIP

    CHAPTER I. General ordinances
    CHAPTER II. Of the different species of partnerships
        Section 1. Of general partnerships
        Section 2. Of particular partnerships
    CHAPTER III. Of the engagements of partners among themselves, and with regard to third persons
        Section 1. Of the engagements of partners to each other
        Section 2. Of the engagements of partners with respect to third persons
    CHAPTER IV. Of the different modes by which partnership is put an end to Disposition relative to commercial partnerships

TITLE X. OF LOANS

    CHAPTER I. Of loan for use, or gratuitously
        Section 1. Of the nature of loan for use
        Section 2. Of the engagements of the borrower
        Section 3. Of the engagements of the party who lends for use
    CHAPTER II. Of loan for consumption, or simple loan
        Section 1. Of the nature of the loan for consumption
        Section 2. Of the obligations of the lender
        Section 3. Of the engagements of the borrower
    CHAPTER III. Of loan on interest

TITLE XI. OF DEPOSIT AND SEQUESTRATION

    CHAPTER I. Of deposit in general and of its different species
    CHAPTER II. Of deposit properly so called
        Section 1. Of the nature and essence of the contract of deposit
        Section 2. Of voluntary deposit
        Section 3. Of the obligations of the depositary
        Section 4. Of the obligations of the party by whom the deposit was made
        Section 5. Of necessary deposit
    CHAPTER III. Of sequestration
        Section 1. Of the different descriptions of sequestration
        Section 2. Of conventional sequestration
        Section 3. Of judicial sequestration or deposit

TITLE XII. OF ALEATORY CONTRACTS

    CHAPTER I. Of play and betting
    CHAPTER II.
        Section 1. Of the conditions requisite to the validity of the contract
        Section 2. Of the effects of the contract between the contracting parties

TITLE XIII. OF PROCURATION

TITLE XIV. OF SECURITY

    CHAPTER I. Of the nature and extent. of security
    CHAPTER II. Of the effect of security
        Section 1. Of the effect of security between the creditor and the surety
        Section 2. Of the effect of security between debtor and surety
        Section 3. Of the effect of security between co-aurelies
    CHAPTER III. Of the extinction of security
    CHAPTER IV. Of legal and judicial security

TITLE XV. OF THE COMPOUNDING OF ACTIONS

TITLE XVI. OF PERSONAL ARREST IN A CIVIL MATTER

TITLE XVII. OF PLEDGING

TITLE XVIII. OF PRIVILEGES AND MORTGAGES

    CHAPTER I. General enactments
    CHAPTER II. Of privileges
        Section 1. Of privileges over moveables
            1. Of general privileges over moveables
            2. Of privileges over certain moveables
        Section 2. Of privileges over immoveables
        Section 3. Of privileges which extend over moveables as well as immoveables
        Section 4. Of the manner in which privileges are preserved
    CHAPTER III. Of mortgages
        Section 1. Of legal mortgages
        Section 2. Of judicial mortgages
        Section 3. Of conventional mortgages
        Section 4. Of the order of mortgages with regard to each other
    CHAPTER IV. Of the mode of enrolment of privileges and mortgages
    CHAPTER V. Of cancelling and reducing enrolments
    CHAPTER VI. Of the effect of privileges and mortgages against third persons in wrongful possession
    CHAPTER VII. Of the extinction of privileges and mortgages
    CHAPTER VIII. Of the mode of clearing property of privileges and mortgages
    CHAPTER IX. Of the mode of exonerating from mortgages, where no enrolment exist, over the property of husbands and guardians
    CHAPTER X. Of the publicity of the registers, and of the responsibility of the keepers

TITLE XIX. OF FORCIBLE EJECTMENT, AND OF THE ORDER AMONG CREDITORS

    CHAPTER I. Of forcible ejectment
    CHAPTER II. Of the order and distribution of the price among the creditors

TITLE XX. OF PRESCRIPTION

    CHAPTER I. General ordinances
    CHAPTER II. Of possession
    CHAPTER III. Of the causes which prevent prescription
    CHAPTER IV. Of the causes which interrupt, or which Suspend the course of prescription
        Section 1. Of the causes which interrupt prescription
        Section 2. Of the causes which suspend the course of prescription
    CHAPTER V. Of the time required in order to prescribe
        Section 1. General ordinances
        Section 2. Of a thirty years' prescription
        Section 3. Of prescription by ten and twenty years
        Section 4. Of some particular prescriptions

 

Bibliography

Code Napoleon; or, The French Civil Code. Literally Translated from the Original and Official Edition, Published at Paris, in 1804. By a Barrister of the Inner Temple. Translation attributed to George Spence (cf. Cushing's Anonyms: A Dictionary of Revealed Authorship and Halkett & Laing's Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature and in the Dictionary of National Biography). London: Published by William Benning, Law Bookseller, 1827. xix, 627 pages.


 

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