The Scope and Structure of Civil Codes. Relations with Commercial Law, Family Law, Consumer Law and Private International Law. A Comparative Approach
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In May 2012, the International Academy of Comparative Law held in Taiwan the Second Intermediate Thematic Congress with the general theme “Codification”. Naturally, one of the topics was the codification of civil law, which included the history of codification in each participating country and its evolution, the current status of the codification method, and the role of the civil code and its relation with constitutional, international and other branches to which civil law is closely linked.
Therefore, the National Reports included as an introduction a general overview of the legislation on private law, with a description of the historical, economic, political, and social context in which such codes were enacted and the description of their original contents. Following, they outlined the evolution of codification, comprising the processes of “decodification” and “recodification”; the current status of the method of codification of private law, the relation of the civil codes with other branches of law such as private international law, consumer law and its consolidation or separation from commercial law or family law. The National Reports also informed about the relation between the codes and constitutional law and supranational law, which is a relevant chapter in the evolution of the role of the codes in the various nations; they also referred to current processes to update the codes and concluded by covering the role and present status of civil codification.
This material was supplemented with Reports from countries not familiar with the private law codification tradition, such as those belonging to the common law tradition. In these cases, the National Reports examined the status of legislation in the areas that are commonly covered by the civil codes in the civil law countries (e.g. contracts, family) as well as attempts to codify certain areas of the law.
As is the practice in the Congresses of the International Academy of Comparative Law, the General Report included a comparative analysis of all the contributions made by the countries. This paper has been prepared on the basis of such General Report and we have divided it into two parts: the first covers the reasons for codification, the criteria behind its expansion, and its current status despite the decodification processes which took place especially during the twentieth century. The second part covers the contents of the current civil codes and its relation to constitutional law and supranational law, as well as with the various areas of what in the civil law family is known as private law (commercial law, family law, consumer law, and private international law).