ABCs of Civil Law

Updated: Jul 23

Compiled by: Archiebald Faller Capila


Barrista Solutions lists key concepts in Civil Law. This will help Bar Reviewees memorize important terms in the subject.




1. ACCRETION


Accretion as a mode of acquiring property under Article 457of the New Civil Code requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (1) that the accumulation of soil or sediment be gradual and imperceptible; (2) that it be the result of the action of the waters of the river; and (3) that the land where the accretion takes place is adjacent to the bank of the river.


2. AGENCY


By the contract of agency a person binds himself to render some service or to do something in representation or on behalf of another, with the consent or authority of the latter. (Article 1868 of the New Civil Code)





3. ALEATORY CONTRACT


By an aleatory contract, one of the parties or both reciprocally bind themselves to give or to do something in consideration of what the other shall give or do upon the happening of an event which is uncertain, or which is to occur at an indeterminate time.


4. ANIMUS REVOCANDI


Animus revocandi is one of the necessary elements for the effective revocation of a last will and testament. The intention to revoke must be accompanied by the overt physical act of burning, tearing, obliterating, or cancelling the will carried out by the testator or by another person in his presence and under his express direction.


5. ANTICHRESIS


By the contract of Antichresis the creditor acquires the right to receive the fruits of an immovable of his debtor, with the obligation to apply them to the payment of the interest, if owing, and thereafter to the principal of his credit.


6. ASSIGNMENT OF CREDIT


It is an agreement by virtue of which the owner of a credit, known as the assignor, by a legal cause, such as sale, dacion en pago, exchange or donation, and without the consent of the debtor, transfers his credit and accessory rights to another, known as the assignee, who acquires the power to enforce it to the same extent as the assignor could enforce it against the debtor.


7. CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT


It is a written acknowledgment by a bank or banker of the receipt of a sum of money on deposit which the bank or banker promises to pay to the depositor, to the order of the depositor, or to some other person or his order, whereby the relation of debtor and creditor between the bank and the depositor is created.


8. COLLATION


Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition.


9. COMMON CARRIERS


Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air, for compensation, offering their services to the public.


10. CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF GAINS


By means of the Conjugal Partnership of Gains, the husband and the wife place in a common fund the fruits of their separate property and the income from their work or industry, and divide equally, upon the dissolution of the marriage or of the partnership, the net gains or benefits obtained indiscriminately by either spouse during the marriage. (Art. 142 of the Civil Code)






11. CONTRACT FOR A PIECE OF WORK


By contract for a piece of work the contractor binds himself to execute a piece of work for the employer, in consideration of a certain price or compensation. The contractor may either employ only his labor or skill, or also furnish the material.


12. CONTRACT OF PARTNERSHIP


By the contract of partnership two or more persons bind themselves to contribute money, property, or industry to a common fund, with the intention of dividing the profits among themselves.


13. CONTRACT OF SALE


A contract of sale is a contract by which one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership and to deliver a determinate thing and the other to pay therefor a price certain in money or its equivalent.


14. CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE


Contributory negligence is conduct on the part of the injured party, contributing as a legal cause to the harm he has suffered, which falls below the standard to which he is required to conform for his own protection.





15. DOCTRINE OF ASSUMPTION OF RISKS


The Doctrine of Assumption of Risk means that one who voluntarily exposes himself to an obvious, known and appreciated danger assumes the risk of injury that may result therefrom. It is based on voluntary consent, express or implied, to accept the danger of a known and appreciated risk; but one does not ordinarily assume the risk of any negligence which he does not know and appreciate.


16. DOCTRINE OF LAST CLEAR CHANCE


·The doctrine of last clear chance provides that where both parties are negligent but the negligent act of one is appreciably later in point of time than that of the other, or where it is impossible to determine whose fault or negligence brought about the occurrence of the incident, the one who had the last clear opportunity to avoid the impending harm but failed to do so, is chargeable with the consequences arising therefrom.


17. DOCTRINE OF MORTGAGEE IN GOOD FAITH


All persons dealing with property covered by a Torrens Certificate of Title, as buyers or mortgagees, are not required to go beyond what appears on the face of the title. The public interest in upholding the indefeasibility of a certificate of title, as evidence of the lawful ownership of the land or of any encumbrance thereon, protects a buyer.


18. DONATION


A Donation is an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously of a thing or right in favor of another, who accepts it.


19. FIDEICOMISSARY SUBSTITUTION


Also known as indirect substitution, it is a substitution by virtue of which the fiduciary or first heir instituted is entrusted with the obligation to preserve and transmit to a second heir the whole or part of the inheritance.


20. FORTUITOUS EVENT


It is an event which, cannot be foreseen such as sudden coming of a storm which considered an Acts of God or known as Majeure or any other unexpected event such as robbery, insurrection which is considered Acts of man.


Four (4) requisites must concur: (a) the cause of the breach of the obligation must be independent of the will of the debtor; (b) the event must be either unforeseeable or unavoidable; (c) the event must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner; and, (d) the debtor must be free from any participation in or aggravation of the injury to the creditor.






21. GENERAL AGENT


A general agent is one authorized to do all acts pertaining to a business of a certain kind or at a particular place, or all acts pertaining to a business of a particular class or series. He has usually authority either expressly conferred in general terms or in effect made general by the usages, customs or nature of the business which he is authorized to transact.


22. IMPLIED TRUST


There is an implied trust when property is sold, and the legal estate is granted to one party but the price is paid by another for the purpose of having the beneficial interest of the property. The former is the trustee, while the latter is the beneficiary. However, if the person to whom the title is conveyed is a child, legitimate or illegitimate, of the one paying the price of the sale, no trust is implied by law, it being disputably presumed that there is a gift in favor of the child.


23. INTESTATE SUCCESSION


Legal or intestate succession takes place:


(1) If a person dies without a will, or with a void will or one which has subsequently lost its validity;

(2) When the will does not institute an heir to or dispose of all the property belonging to the testator. In such a case, legal succession shall take place only with respect to the property of which the testator has not disposed;

(3) If the suspensive condition attached to the institution of heir does not happen or is not fulfilled, or if the heir dies before the testator, or repudiates the inheritance, there being no substitution, and no right of accretion takes place;

(4) When the heir instituted is incapable of succeeding, except in cases provided in this Code.


24. IRON CURTAIN RULE


It prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of the said illegitimate child.


25. JOINT OBLIGATION


A Joint Obligation is one in which each debtor is liable only for a proportionate part of the debt, and the creditor is entitled to demand only a proportionate part of the credit from each debtor.


26. LEGAL REDEMPTION


Legal redemption is the right to be subrogated, upon the same terms and conditions stipulated in the contract, in the place of one who acquires a thing by purchase or dation in payment, or by any other transaction whereby ownership is transmitted by onerous title.


27. LEGITIME


Legitime is that part of the testator's property which he cannot dispose of because the law has reserved it for certain heirs who are, therefore, called compulsory heirs.


28. LIMITED PARTNERSHIP


A limited partnership is one formed by two or more persons under the provisions of the following article, having as members one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. The limited partners as such shall not be bound by the obligations of the partnership.


29. LOAN


By the contract of loan, one of the parties delivers to another, either something not consumable so that the latter may use the same for a certain time and return it, in which case the contract is called a commodatum; or money or other consumable thing, upon the condition that the same amount of the same kind and quality shall be paid, in which case the contract is simply called a loan or mutuum. Commodatum is essentially gratuitous. Simple loan may be gratuitous or with a stipulation to pay interest. In commodatum the bailor retains the ownership of the thing loaned, while in simple loan, ownership passes to the borrower.






30. OWNERSHIP


Ownership confers certain rights to the owner, one of which is the right to dispose of the thing by way of sale.


31. POSSESSION


Possession is defined as the holding of a thing or the enjoyment of a right. Literally, to possess means to actually and physically occupy a thing with or without right.


32. PREJUDICIAL QUESTION


A prejudicial question is a question that is based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that its resolution is determinative of the guilt or innocence of the accused. To justify suspension of the criminal action, it must appear not only that the civil case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution is based but also that the decision of the issue or issues raised in the civil case would be decisive of the guilt or innocence of the accused.


33. PRETERITION


Preterition is the omission in testator’s will of one, some or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct line, whether living at the time of execution of the will or born after the death of the testator.


34. PROBATE PROCEEDINGS


A probate proceeding is a special legal proceeding required for the purpose of establishing the validity of the will. According to the law, no will shall pass as either personal or real property unless it is proved and allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court.


35. PROXIMATE CAUSE


Proximate cause has been defined as that which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and without which the result would not have occurred.






36. QUASI-DELICT


Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.


37. QUIETING OF TITLE


Whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest therein, by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance or proceeding which is apparently valid or effective but is in truth and in fact invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title, an action may be brought to remove such cloud or to quiet the title.


38. RECOUPMENT


Recoupment (reconvencion) is the act of rebating or recouping a part of a claim upon which one is sued by means of a legal or equitable right resulting from a counterclaim arising out of the same transaction. It is the setting up of a demand arising from the same transaction as the plaintiff’s claim, to abate or reduce that claim.


39. RENVOI DOCTRINE


It is a legal doctrine that applies when a court is faced with a conflict of law and must consider the law of another state, referred to as private international law rules. This can apply when considering foreign issues arising in succession planning and in administering estates.


40. RES JUDICATA


Res judicata is defined as “a matter adjudged; a thing judicially acted upon or decided; refers to the rule that a final judgment or decree on the merits by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive of the rights of the parties or their privies in all later suits on points and matters determined in the former suit.”






41. RESERVA TRONCAL


The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which said property came.


42. SOLIDARY OBLIGATION


A Solidary obligation is one in which each of the debtors is liable for the entire obligation, and each of the creditors is entitled to demand the satisfaction of the whole obligation from any or all of the debtors. They must be positively and clearly expressed.


43. SPECIAL AGENT


A special agent is one authorized to do some particular act or to act upon some particular occasion like acts usually in accordance with specific instructions or under limitations necessarily implied from the nature of the act to be done.


44. SUCCESSION


Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights, and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a person are transmitted through his death to another or others either by his will or by operation of law.


45. SUPPORT


Support is everything that is indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, and medical attendance, according to the social position of the family. Support also includes the education of the person entitled to be supported until he completes his education or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority.


46. TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY


Testamentary capacity is the capacity to comprehend the nature of the transaction which the testator is engaged at the time, to recollect the property to be disposed of and the person who would naturally be supposed to have claims upon the testator, and to comprehend the manner in which the instrument will distribute his property among the objects of his bounty.


47. TRADEMARK


A Trademark or Tradename duly registered in the proper government bureau or office is owned by and pertains to the person, corporation, or firm registering the same, subject to the provisions of special laws.


48. UNJUST ENRICHMENT


There is unjust enrichment when a person unjustly retains a benefit to the loss of another, or when a person retains money or property of another against the fundamental principles of justice, equity and good conscience.


49. USUFRUCT


Usufruct gives a right to enjoy the property of another with the obligation of preserving its form and substance unless the title constituting it or the law otherwise provides.


50. WILL


A will is an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of this estate, to take effect after his death.






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