Civil Law

Latin American countries belong to the civil law tradition. This legal system tracks its roots to the law of the Roman Empire, to Canon Law, to Customary Law, and to the Ius Commune, also called the Romano-Canonical Law of Europe. Latin American civil law jurisdictions are Code-based legal systems, that is, they rest upon systematized bodies of law contained in a single and subject-oriented compendium. The contrasts with common law are clearly perceived in essential elements of each legal tradition and culture, namely, concerning the role of equity, the emphasis on written law as opposed to judicial precedents, the role of stare decisis, the avaiability of equitable remedies, and the function of notaries public, to name but a few. All these aspects affect every area of transactional work done in the region when it comes to multiple aspects of the law, e.g., property law, contracts, family law, litigation, alternative dispute mechanisms, secured transactions, business forms, corporate governance, government contracts, shareholders’ rights, evidence, intellectual property law, electronic commerce, foreign trade restrictions, environmental regulations, labor law, antitrust law, tort law, and constitutional law issues. Therefore, whether you have been doing business in Latin America just recently or are planning to start a business venture in the region, we are here to assist you navigate the waters of Latin American civil law system, in a way that will enable you to become familiarized promptly, efficiently, and according to the highest professional standards. Click for a review of articles written and presentations given by Dante Figueroa on the subject of Civil Law. Below is a list of materials that may help you get started become familiarized with Latin American civil law jurisdictions.

John Henry Merryman & Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo, The Civil Law Tradition: An Introduction to the Legal Systems of Europe and Latin America 20-5 (3d ed. 2007)

 Thomas Glyn Watkin, An Historical Introduction to Modern Civil Law 81-129 (1999)

 Alan Watson, The Making Of The Civil Law 83-98 (1981)

 F.H. Lawson, A Common Lawyer Looks At The Civil Law 108-135 (1953)

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