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Code Napoleon

Code Napoleon

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

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
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • 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
  • 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

TITLE IX. OF THE CONTRACT OF PARTNERSHIP

  • CHAPTER I. General ordinances
  • CHAPTER II. Of the different species of 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

TITLE XI. OF DEPOSIT AND SEQUESTRATION

TITLE XII. OF ALEATORY CONTRACTS

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
  • 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

 

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.