Civil and Commercial Law
CIVIL LAW, civilian law or Roman law is a legal system originating in Europe, intellectualized within the framework of late Roman law, and whose most prevalent feature is that its core principles are codified into a referable system which serves as the primary source of law.
This can be contrasted with common law systems whose intellectual framework comes from judge-made decisional law which gives precedential authority to prior court decisions on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions (doctrine of judicial precedent, or stare decisis).
Historically, a civil law is the group of legal ideas and systems ultimately derived from the Code of Justinian, but heavily overlaid by Napoleonic, Germanic, canonical, feudal, and local practices, as well as doctrinal strains such as natural law, codification, and legal positivism. Conceptually, civil law proceeds from abstractions, formulates general principles, and distinguishes substantive rules from procedural rules. It holds case law to be secondary and subordinate to statutory law. When discussing civil law, one should keep in mind the conceptual difference between a statute and a codal article. The marked feature of civilian systems is that they use codes with brief text that tend to avoid factually specific scenarios. Code articles deal in generalities and thus stand at odds with statutory schemes which are often very long and very detailed.
COMMERCIAL LAW, also known as business law, is the body of law that applies to the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade, and sales. It is often considered to be a branch of civil law and deals with issues of both private law and public law.
Commercial law includes within its compass such titles as principal and agent; carriage by land and sea; merchant shipping; guarantee; marine, fire, life, and accident insurance; bills of exchange and partnership. It can also be understood to regulate corporate contracts, hiring practices, and the manufacture and sales of consumer goods. Many countries have adopted civil codes that contain comprehensive statements of their commercial law.
In the United States, commercial law is the province of both the United States Congress, under its power to regulate interstate commerce, and the states, under their police power. Efforts have been made to create a unified body of commercial law in the United States; the most successful of these attempts has resulted in the general adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code, which has been adopted in all 50 states (with some modification by state legislatures), the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories.
Various regulatory schemes control how commerce is conducted, particularly vis-a-vis employees and customers. Privacy laws, safety laws (e.g., the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the United States), and food and drug laws are some examples.