Napoleonic Code

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Related to Napoleonic Code: Napoleon Bonaparte, Concordat of 1801

Napoleonic Code

The first modern organized body of law governing France, also known as the Code Napoleon or Code Civil, enacted by Napoléon I in 1804.

In 1800, Napoléon I appointed a commission of four persons to undertake the task of compiling the Napoleonic Code. Their efforts, along with those of J. J. Cambacérès, were instrumental in the preparation of the final draft. The Napoleonic Code assimilated the private law of France, which was the law governing transactions and relationships between individuals. The Code, which is regarded by some commentators as the first modern counterpart to Roman Law, is currently in effect in France in an amended form.

The Napoleonic Code is a revised version of the Roman law or Civil Law, which predominated in Europe, with numerous French modifications, some of which were based on the Germanic law that had been in effect in northern France. The code draws upon the Institutes of the Roman Corpus Juris Civilis for its categories of the civil law: property rights, such as licenses; the acquisition of property, such as trusts; and personal status, such as legitimacy of birth.

Napoléon applied the code to the territories he governed—namely, some of the German states, the low countries, and northern Italy. It was extremely influential in Spain and, eventually, in Latin America as well as in all other European nations except England, where the Common Law prevailed. It was the harbinger, in France and abroad, of codifications of other areas of law, such as Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, and Commercial Law. The Napoleonic Code served as the prototype for subsequent codes during the nineteenth century in twenty-four countries; the province of Québec and the state of Louisiana have derived a substantial portion of their laws from it. Napoléon also promulgated four other codes: the Code of Civil Procedure (1807), the Commercial Code (1808), the Code of Criminal Procedure (1811), and the Penal Code (1811).

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Napoleonic Code

the name given to the French Civil Code. It brought together existing rules and implemented many of the new ideas of revolution. The provisions are brief and require judicial interpretation according to its spirit. Its structure is based on its civilian heritage and very broadly follows Justinian's Institutes (see CORPUS JURIS CIVILIS). The influence of the Code came from its implementation across Napoleon's sphere of influence including parts of Italy and Germany. The Code was a successful export, especially to the Americas. Its influence was weakened only when the German Civil Code (BGB) began to be copied by newer systems.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
(11.) The Napoleonic Code, "liberally translated from the original and official edition," runs to 927 pages (A Barrister of the Inner Temple [1804] 1999).
Thus, far from being only the vehicle of liberal ideas, the Napoleonic Code in its Atlantic expansion was also an instrument of imperial designs.
Of course, Napoleon learned a lot from the revolution: the Napoleonic Code was established under Napoleon I in 1804, which did not allow privileges based on birth, ensured social welfare of the people, allowed freedom of religion and stood for giving government jobs on merit.
The abolition of guilds and the Napoleonic Code left artisans' widows with fewer protections and rights as they entered an increasingly atomistic economy in which men, but not women, had gained citizenship rights.
Stanley, like some poster-boy for estate planning, then says, "Blanche, under the Napoleonic code, a man has got to take an interest in his wife's affairs--and I mean, especially now that she's going to have a baby."
Flag might represent the merger of German Idealism with the Napoleonic Code that led to the unification of Germany in the nineteenth century, and more generally laid the foundation for modern states across Europe.
You also have one state, Louisiana, which litigates according to the Napoleonic code, which has its roots in France, and 49 other states that judge eases based on common law, which has its roots in England.
"Although it is true that French law is based on the Napoleonic Code, the French and the Irish criminal justice systems are based on the same three principles; the presumption of innocence; the right to confront one's accuser and the need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
Is there a conflict between rabbinical law and the Napoleonic code with regard to polygamy, divorce, mixed marriages?
He then explores the ethical foundations of the law from Aristotle and Plato to the US Constitution, touching upon Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Rousseau, Bentham, Milton Friedman, John Rawls, Roman Law, the Magna Carta, and the Napoleonic code along the way.
She attempts to show, by examining the difference between intentions expressed in the various levels of discourse and in practice, that despite Rousseau--but why not mention what he thought of women writers in Reveries d'un promeneur solitaire?--and the Napoleonic code, the notion of a private sphere to which women were confined was not an operative one.
His social reforms included the Napoleonic Code, a judicial system that is still the basis of French law.