Judicial Dictionary

Civil Law : Concept and Basic principles

Considering that civil law, in order to give citizens complete reassurance about the assured enjoyment of their private rights, not only according to the general principles of justice; but also determined according to the special circumstances of the inhabitants, made known in a language they understand and should be preserved through a proper collection in permanent souvenir.[Austrian Civil Code]

1. The epitome of the law, through which the private rights and obligations of the inhabitants of the state are determined among themselves, constitutes civil law in the state.

2. Once a law has been made public, no one can apologize for not knowing it.

3. The effectiveness of a law and the resulting legal consequences begin immediately after the announcement; unless the law made known itself would determine the time of its effectiveness even further.

5. Laws do not retroact; therefore they have no influence on previous actions and on previously acquired rights.

6. In the application of a law, no other mind than that which shines out from the peculiar meaning of the words in their context and from the clear intention of the legislator may be attached to the application.

7. If a legal case cannot be decided either from the words or from the natural sense of a law, then similar cases determined in the laws and the reasons for other laws related to them must be taken into account. The legal case remains doubtful; so it must be decided according to the natural legal principles with regard to the carefully collected and carefully considered circumstances.

8. Only the legislature has the power to declare a law in a generally binding manner. Such a declaration must be applied to all legal cases still to be decided, so that the legislature does not add that its declaration should not be used when deciding on such legal cases which relate to the acts and rights mentioned before the declaration.

  1. Laws remain in force until they are amended by the legislator or explicitly repealed.
  2. The rulings given in individual cases and the judgments made by judges’ chairs in special legal disputes never have the force of a law, they cannot be extended to other cases or to other persons.


Source: Austrian Civil Code

Categories: Judicial Dictionary

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