Argentina, Civil Code

views updated

Argentina, Civil Code

Argentina's Civil Code, the basis for the country's civil law, is the result of several efforts to codify the law. The culmination of these efforts came in 1864, when President Bartolomé Mitre commissioned jurist Dalmacio Vélez Sarsfield to write a Civil Code. The bill was passed and became the law of the land through Law No. 340 on September 24, 1869; it went into effect on January 1, 1871. The Civil Code contains 4,051 articles and reflects seventeenth-century principles of liberalism and individualism. After its passage, it was modified several times through various laws in response to developing litigation issues.

Provisions modified in the Code include Law 2393 (1888), establishing the institution of civil matrimony, which may or may not be followed by a religious ceremony; Law 1357 (1926) extended civil rights to women; Laws 11723 (1933) and 22195 (1980) established intellectual property; Law 13512 (1948) established "horizontal property" (or proprietary interest in a cooperative apartment house); and Law 14394 (1954) established a legal code for minors and the family, introducing the concept of the "good of the family" and mandatory joint ownership of the inherited goods of an economic unit.

The most significant changes in the Civil Code were made through Law 17711 (1968), which modified approximately two hundred articles and introduced, among other things, the implicit defeasance clause in contracts, injury as a cause for objection, reparations for moral damages even when contractual responsibility is assumed, the validity of transferring real estate to third-party bona fide purchasers, and the abuse of process principle.

Later, other changes were made via Law 23091 (1984) on urban leases. Law 23264 (1985) changed the regime of patria potestas and filiation, making all children equal whether they were adopted or born in or outside of marriage and establishing a shared patria potestas. Law 23515 (1987) incorporated divorce a vinculo matrimonii; Law 24240 (1993) is the consumer defense law; Law 24481 (1995) made provisions for patents on inventions; Law 24779 (1997) modified the system of adoption, allowing adoption regardless of the civil status of the adopting parties; Law 25236 (2000) protects personal information; Law 25248 (2000) applies to leasing; and Law 25561 (2002) deals with economic emergencies in social, economic, administrative, financial, and exchange matters and reformed the currency exchange regime.

These provisions all contribute to the configuration of the rule of law because they are aimed at avoiding family violence and noncompliance with family obligations, establishing equality among children born to different kinds of unions, extending the institution of adoption, defending consumers, providing minimum guarantees for lessors and lessees, reaching maximum levels of sexual health and responsible parenting for the population, and assuring the comprehensive protection of personal information in archives, records, data banks, or other technical data storage methods.

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century; Argentina, Commercial Code; Mitre, Bartolomé; Vélez Sarsfield, Dalmacio.


Mirow, Matthew C. Latin American Law: A History of Private Law and Institutions in Spanish America. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004.

Morello, Augusto M., and Néstor L. Portas, eds. Examen y crítica de la reforma del Código Civil. La Plata: Editora Platense, 1971.

                                           Viviana Kluger