A DIGEST OF THE CIVIL LAW
PRELIMINARY TITLE - OF THE GENERAL DEFINITIONS OF RIGHTS AND THE PROMULGATION OF THE LAWS
CHAPTER I - OF LAW AND CUSTOMS
Art. 1. Law is a solemn expression of Legislative will, upon a subject of general interest and interior regulation.
Art. 2. It orders and permits and forbids;- it announces rewards and punishments;- its provisions generally relate, not to solitary or singular cases, but to what passes in the ordinary course of affairs.
Art. 3. Customs result from a long series of actions constantly repeated, which have by such repetition, and by uninterrupted acquiescence acquired the force of a tacit and common consent.
CHAPTER II - OF THE PUBLICATION OF THE LAWS
Art. 4. As laws cannot be obligatory without being known, they shall be promulgated by the Governor of the Territory.
The laws shall be directed to the authorities entrusted with their execution or application, and to such other persons as the law has designated or may designate in the form and manner which is or may be prescribed, to insure their most extensive publicity.
The Clerks of all the courts of justice of this territory, shall insert in a register to be kept for that purpose, the title of all the laws which shall have been directed to them, together with the day on which they shall have received them.
Art. 5. The laws shall be executed through every part of this territory, from the moment their promulgation shall be known.
Art. 6. The promulgation made by the Governor shall be supposed to be known in the parish where the government shall be sitting, three days after the day of promulgation; and in every one of the other parishes, after the expiration of the said delay, with the addition of one day for every four leagues between the city in which the promulgation shall have been made, and the place where the court for every parish is held.
CHAPTER III - OF THE EFFECTS OF LAWS
Art. 7. A law can dispose only for the future; it can have no retrospective operation; nor can it impair the obligation of contracts.
Art. 8. Nevertheless a law explanatory or declaratory of a former law, may regulate the past, without prejudice, however, to final judgments, to transactions and to awards or arbitrations which have acquired the force of final judgments.
Art. 9. The law is obligatory upon all inhabitants of the territory indiscriminately; the foreigner, whilst residing there, and his property within its limits, are subject to it.
Art. 10. The form and force of acts and written instruments, depend upon the laws and usages of the places where they are passed or executed.
Art. 11. Individuals cannot by their conventions, derogate from the force of laws made for the preservation of pubic order or good morals.
Art. 12. The prohibiting laws import a nullity, though it be not formally expressed.
CHAPTER IV - OF THE APPLICATION AND CONSTRUCTION OF LAWS
Art. 13. When a law is clear and free from all ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded, under the pretext of pursuing its spirit.
Art. 14. The words of a law are generally to be understood in their most known and usual signification, without attending so much to the niceties of grammar rules as to their general and popular use.
Art. 15. Terms of art or technical terms and phrases, are to be interpreted according to their received meaning and acceptation with the learned in each art, trade and profession.
Art. 16. Where the words of a law are dubious, their meaning may be sought by examining the context, with which the ambiguous words, phrases and sentences may be compared in order to ascertain their true meaning.
Art. 17. Laws in pari materia or upon the same subject matter, must be construed with a reference to each other: what is clear in one statute, may be called in aid to explain what is doubtful in another.
Art. 18. The most universal and effectual way of discovering the true meaning of a law, when its expressions are dubious, is by considering the reason and spirit of it, or the cause which induced the legislature to enact it.
Art. 19. When to prevent the commission of a particular class of frauds, the law declares certain acts void, its provisions are not to be dispensed with, on the ground that the particular act in question, has been proved not to be fraudulent.
Art. 20. The distinction between odious laws, and laws entitled to favor, made with a view of narrowing, or extending their construction, is a gross abuse.
Art. 21. In civil matters, where there is no express law, the judge is bound to proceed and decide according to equity. To decide equitably an appeal is to be made to natural law and reason, or received usages, where positive law is silent.
Art. 22. The judge cannot, in a criminal matter, supply by construction, any thing omitted in the law.
CHAPTER V - OF THE REPEAL OF LAWS
Art. 23. Laws may be repealed, either entirely or partially, by other laws.
Art. 24. The repeal is either express or implied.
It is express, when it is literally declared by a subsequent law.
It is implied, when the new law contains provisions contrary to or irreconcileable with those of the former law.