Civil Law Overview
- Contract law, which refers to implied or written agreements between two or more parties where each party is obliged to perform the obligations assumed. If any clause of the contract is violated, an action for breach of contract may be necessary.
- Tort law involves cases of personal injury and other civil offenses, often referred to as a form of “trespass”, meaning a civil wrong done to another. This may mean physical harm, property damage or even death. Negligence, willful action and the strict responsibility of manufacturers to offer safe products to the public come into play. Additionally, the obligation of merchants to provide safe premises to business invitees and guests sometimes leads to claims for compensation to those aggrieved and injured.
- Property laws relate to matters concerning land and improved real estate or personal assets. As to the latter, it can be considered tangible things, such as jewelry, and intangible items, for example, copyrights, trademarks, intellectual property or securities.
- Family law deals with issues of marriage or divorce, custody of children, adoption problems and other nuances of domestic relations. The courts take an active role in the distribution of finances after dissolution of marriage and establishment of guardianship over children. In recent years, new issues have appeared, such as same-sex marriages, surrogate motherhood, artificial insemination, etc. The law continues to evolve along with our diverse society.
- Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning – This area of law involves planning for the disposition of both real and personal property before death. It allows a person and their family members to make decisions well before illness or death occur. For example. a person can create a will that makes certain gifts and specific bequests according to the wishes of the individual. It also provides a means for the creation of trusts for specific purposes and engage in tax planning so as to preserve one’s assets for future generations.