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Discover What the Code Civil Francais Is

Discover What the Code Civil Francais Is

Discover What the Code Civil Francais Is: Understanding the French Civil Code

The Code Civil Francais, also known as the French Civil Code, is one of the most important legal codes in the world. First published in 1804 under Napoleon Bonaparte, the code is still in use today and has influenced legal systems around the globe. In this article, we will explore the Code Civil Francais and its significance.

The History of the Code Civil Francais

The Code Civil Francais was created during the French Revolution as a comprehensive legal code to replace the patchwork of various legal systems that existed in France at the time. After a period of drafting and consultation, the code was enacted in 1804 under the direction of Napoleon Bonaparte. The code drew on the Roman legal tradition and the legal principles of the French Revolution, and it was intended to provide a consistent legal framework for all French citizens.

The Structure of the Code Civil Francais

The Code Civil Francais is organized into three main books:

1. Book I: Of Persons – This book covers the legal status of individuals, including their rights and responsibilities, as well as family law.

2. Book II: Of Property and of Different Modifications of Property – This book deals with property law, including the transfer of property, leases, and other property-related issues.

3. Book III: Of the Different Modes of Acquiring the Ownership of Things – This book covers the various ways in which ownership of property can be acquired, such as through inheritance or purchase.

The Code Civil Francais also contains several introductory articles that outline the fundamental principles of French law, such as the principle of equality before the law and the presumption of innocence.

Significance of the Code Civil Francais

The Code Civil Francais has had a significant impact on legal systems around the world. Many countries, particularly those in Europe and in former French colonies, have adopted civil law systems based on the French model.

The code has also influenced the development of international law. During the drafting of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Code Civil Francais was cited as an important source of legal principles.

In addition, the Code Civil Francais has played a key role in shaping contemporary French society. Its principles of equality, individual rights, and civil liberty have formed the foundation of French law and culture.


The Code Civil Francais is a foundational legal code that has impacted legal systems around the world and shaped contemporary French society. Its emphasis on equality, individual rights, and civil liberty continues to be an important influence in modern legal and political discourse. By understanding the Code Civil Francais, we can gain insight into the evolution of legal systems and the principles that underlie them.

What is Code Civil Francais?

Code civil Francais, also known as the Napoleonic Code, is the French civil code that was originally established under Napoleon I in 1804. In its infant stage, the code civil Francais forbade certain privileges based on birth, while permitting individuals to partake in freedom of religion, while specifying that government jobs are awarded to only the most qualified candidates.

At its origin, code civil Francais was rapidly drafted by a commission (comprised of four eminent jurists) and officially affirmed on March 21, 1804. Although the code civil Francais was not the first legal code to be instituted in a European country with a civil legal system, it was however, the first modern legal code to be affirmed with a European scope.

As a result of this characteristic, the code civil Francais was a primary influence in regards to the legal scope of many of the countries formed subsequent to the Napoleonic Wars. The code civil Francais was a fundamental step towards replacing the previous system of feudal laws.

Categories of the Code Civil Francais:

The code civil Francais is divided into 4 categories; each category represents a subject matter that the code civil Francais governs. The categories are as follows:

Persons (Individuals within a given community)


The laws surrounding the acquisition of property

The laws revolving around civil procedure (this category was removed into a separate code in 1806).

Contents of the Code:

The preliminary aspect of the code civil Francais established certain provisions regarding the rule of law. These laws could be applied if they had been duly promulgated and only if the laws had been officially published—included in this are provisions for publishing delays, given the general means of communication available at the given time). As a result of this process, the code civil Francais outlawed the creation of any secret laws or legal issues that were created without government approval and the inclusion of public opinion.

The code civil Francais also impeded judges from refusing the delivery of justice on grounds of insufficiency of the law; this provision of the code civil Francais forced all judges to interpret the law and attach such interpretations to help find a solution to the given problem. That being said, this provision also prohibited judges from passing general rulings of a legislative value.

With regards to the basic family in a given community, the code civil Francais established the supremacy of the husband with respect to his authority over his wife and children; at the time, this was the general legal situation found throughout Europe. That being said, such a ruling; however, allowed divorce on a liberal basis compared to other countries throughout European countries, including divorces by mutual consent.