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CIVIL, CIVIL ACTION, CIVIL DEATH, CIVIL STATE

    3.7.17  

CIVIL. This word has various significations. 1. It is used in contradistinction to barbarous or savage, to indicate a state of society reduced to order and regular government; thus we speak of civil life, civil society, civil government, and civil liberty
2. It is sometimes used in contradistinction to criminal, to indicate the private rights and remedies of men, as members of the community, in contrast to those which are public and relate to the government; thus we speak of civil process and criminal process, civil jurisdiction and criminal jurisdiction.
3. It is also used in contradistinction to military or ecclesiastical, to natural or foreign; thus we speak of a civil station, as opposed to a military or ecclesiastical stationa civil death as opposed to a natural death; a civil warasopposed to a foreign war. Story on the Const. 789; 1 Bl. Coin. 6, 125, 251; Montesq. Sp. of Laws, B 1, c. 3; Ruth. Inst. B. 2, c. 2; Id. ch. 3Id. ch. 8, p. 359; Hein. Elem. Jurisp. Nat. B. 2, ch. 6.
CIVIL ACTION. In New York, actions are divided only into two kinds, namely, criminal and civil. A criminal action is prosecuted by the state, as a party, against a person charged with a public offence, for the punishment thereof. Every other action is a civil action. Code of Procedure, s. 4, 5, 6; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 2638. In common parlance, however, writs of mandamus, certiorari, habeas corpus, &c., are not comprised by the expression, civil actions. 6 Bin. Rep. 9.
CIVIL COMMOTION. Lord Mansfield defines a civil commotion to be "an insurrection of the people for general purposes, though it may not amount to rebellion where there is an usurped power." 2 Marsh. lnsur. 793. In the printed proposals which are considered as making a part of the contract of insurance against fire, it is declared that the insurance company will not make good any loss happening by any civil commotion.
CIVIL DEATH, persons. The change of the state (q. v.) of a person who is declared civilly dead by judgment of a competent tribunal. In such case, the person against whom such sentence is pronounced is considered dead. 2 John. R. 218. See Gilb. Uses, 150; 2 Bulst. 188; Co. tit. 132; Jenk. Cent. 250; 1 Keble, 398; Prest. on Convey. 140. Vide Death, civil.
CIVIL LAW. The municipal code of the Romans is so called. It is a rule of action, adopted by mankind in a state of society. It denotes also the municipal law of the land. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 11. See Law, civil.
CIVIL LIST. The sum which is yearly paid by the state to its monarch, and the domains of which he is suffered to have the enjoyment.
CIVIL OBLIGATION, Civil law. One which binds in law, vinculum juris, and which may be enforeed in a court of justice. Poth. Obl. 173, and 191. See Obligation.
CIVIL OFFICER. The constitution of the United States, art. 2, s. 4, provides, that the president, vice-president, and civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. By this term areincluded all officers of the United States who hold their appointments under the national government, whether their duties are executive or judicial, in the highest or the lowest departments; of the government, with the exception of officers of the army and navy. Rawle on the Const. 213; 2 Story, Const. 790; a senator of the United States, it was decided, was not a civil officer, within the meaning of this clause in the constitution. Senate Journals, 10th January, 1799; 4 Tuck. Bl. Com. Appx. 57, 58; Rawle, Const. 213; Serg. on Const. Law, 376; Story, Const. 791.
CIVIL REMEDY, practice. This term is used in opposition to the remedy given by indictment in a criminal case, and signifies the remedy which the law gives to the party against the offender.
2. In cases of treason and felony, the law,, for wise purposes, suspends this remedy in order to promote the public interest, until the wrongdoer shall have been prosecuted for the public wrong. 1 Miles, Rep. 316-17; 12 East, 409; R. T. H. 359; 1 Hale's P. C. 546; 2 T. R. 751, 756; 17 Ves. 329; 4 Bl. Com. 363; Bac. Ab. Trepass, E 2; and Trover, D. This principle has been adopted in New Hampshire N. H. R. 239; but changed in New York by statutory provision; 2 Rev. Stat. 292, 2 and by decisions in Massachusetts, except perhaps in felonies punishable with death; 15 Mass. R. 333; in Ohio; 4 Ohio R. 377; in North Carolina; 1 Tayl. R. 58. By the common law, in cases of homicide, the civil remedy is merged in the felony. 1 Chit. Pr. 10. Vide art. Injuries; Merger.
CIVIL STATE. The union of individual men in civil society under a system of laws and a magistracy, or magistracies, charged with the administration of the laws. It is a fundamental law of the civil state, that no member of it shall undertake to redress or avenge any violation of his rights, by another person, but appeal to the constituted authorities for that purpose, in all cases in which is is possible for him to do so. Hence the citizens are justly considered as being under the safeguard of the law. 1 Toull. n. 201. Vide Self-defence.
CIVILIAN. A doctor, professor, or student of the civil law.

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