Common Law vs. Civil Law: Louisiana's Napoleonic Code

The Letter C- Common Law: Louisiana's Napoleonic Code

How the Napoleonic Code makes Louisiana different?  La.'s Napoleonic Code applies Civil law and the rest of the United States apply Common law.


 

In Louisiana, we have something called the Napoleonic Code and the law is different than all of the other states.  If you've ever seen Marlon Brando (my heart races and my knees go week), play Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire, you might remember him telling Stella about the Napoleonic Code.

 

"Now listen. Did you ever hear of the Napoleonic code, Stella?...Now just let me enlighten you on a point or two...Now we got here in the state of Louisiana what's known as the Napoleonic code. You see, now according to that, what belongs to the wife belongs to the husband also, and vice versa...It looks to me like you've been swindled baby. And when you get swindled under Napoleonic code, I get swindled too and I don't like to get swindled..."

Video below is long, but this scene is within the first ten seconds.

 

 




Well Stanley was right. Our system of law in Louisiana originates from Napoleon Bonaparte.  The Napoleonic Code uses the civilian law approach.  Civilian law is based on scholarly research and the drafting of legal code which is passed into law by the legislature. It is then the judge's job to interpret the intent of the legislature more than to follow judicial precedent.

So how are the forty nine other states different?  They all have laws based on  English  Common Law.  The Common law is a system of law based on court precedent.  Laws and statutes are interpreted and the ruling of one judge may influence or even control the ruling of another judge. For more information on Louisiana Law, visit this site.

In a nutshell: In Louisiana, a judge decides a case based on his or her own interpretation of the code, not those of prior courts.  In every other state, judges are supposed to make decisions based exclusively on previous rulings. 

Now follow this link to the official A to Z Challenge blog to view the list of other participants. You just click on their name and you will be directed to their blog so you can read more entries. Thanks for stopping by. I was completely unavailable yesterday and have limited time today, but I intend to catch up and visit as many blogs as I can this week. I appreciate your patience.





 


25 comments:

  1. That's...actually really interesting. Thanks for the edification.

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  2. Very interesting. I never knew the law was different in LA.

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  3. Wonder if that leads to more fair or unfair trials?

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  4. Similarly, most of Canada follows (English) common law, while there is the Civil Code of Quebec. 

    A-Z @ Elizabeth
    Twist

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  5. Funny, I remember that from the movie but had forgotten it. Thanks for the memory jog!

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  6. Hey Melissa,
    Cool post! I pretty much feel a lot of judges make thier own decisions. Especially in family law. I worked as a paralegal to support my daughters for ten years. I covered areas from Personal Injury to Family Law to Social Security Disability.

    Shelly
    http://secondhandshoesnovel.blosgpot.com/

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  7. Well, I learned something here today.

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  8. This is SO fascinating! Thanks for sharing Melissa ;)

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  9. Gosh, kind of makes me want to move to Louisiana, but then, kind of depends on the Judge and all, doesn't it? I could see this being awesome, and I could see this being really scary. Again...depending on the Judge. 

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  10. You learn something new every day! But this is one of those interesting trivia things I'm sure I'll be whipping out in the future and puff out my chest while saying because I know something about law. But just my luck, I'd be talking to a lawyer and quickly deflate.  *sigh*  It does sound like being a judge in LA than is a heavier, more responsible job than in other states.

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  11. Oh, I'm weak in the knees from the clip. I love the old Brando movies!! On the Waterfront is another favorite.

    This was also a really interesting history lesson. I didn't know anything about this!

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  12. Fascinating - I never knew that!

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  13. We have the same situation in Canada, Melissa. In the province of Quebec, the majority French population was allowed to keep the French Civil Code, but had to adopt English Criminal Code. (Other provinces follow English law for criminal and civil matters). It is a peculiarity of history for us, as it is for you in Loiusiana. 

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  14. Hi Melissa,
    Living in the UK I am loving your A-Z of blogging and learning so many new facts about the Louisiana and US Law.  Can't wait to read more of these! :)
    And do people really wrestle bears - quite incredible...Tracy

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  15. Love your take on the challenge! Plus I feel so educated this morning--and after only one cup of coffee.
    Thanks Melissa :)

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  16. Huh. I didn't know that's how it originated. Thanks for the info. Interesting stuff!

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  17. That's interesting. Didn't know that at all. 

    Jen from http://falling4fiction.blogspot.com/

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  18. I did not know this. Very interesting I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs during April

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  19. So how did it come about that one State is different?

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  20. Yes you are Right Our system of law in Louisiana originates from Napoleon Bonaparte.


    Maritime Lawyer

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  21. we (Louisiana) can't possibly follow the actual napoleonic code, because the napoleonic code wasnt enacted till 1804 AFTER the Louisiana Purchase. so we just follow good ole Louisiana Civil Law. -plus tard-

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  22. I have a case in Louisiana and I am actually very afraid, I have to fight the case pro se because I cannot afford an attorney and a court-appointed will only get me time, or in some stupid class I don't need to be in. However I realized I have to be strong and not be afraid, I have to go before the judge pretty soon and I'm not happy about it. I really wish I had some help in Louisiana, I have 2 kids and they cannot afford to lose me.

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  23. I have a case in Louisiana and I am actually very afraid, I have to fight the case pro se because I cannot afford an attorney and a court-appointed will only get me time, or in some stupid class I don't need to be in. However I realized I have to be strong and not be afraid, I have to go before the judge pretty soon and I'm not happy about it. I really wish I had some help in Louisiana, I have 2 kids and they cannot afford to lose me.

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If you don't have anything nice to say ... then sit by me. Kidding. Please share your thoughts. I love comments. I dislike stalkers & trolls. If you want to ask me a direct question, please email me: sugarlaw13 at live dot com

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