Ce chapitre comporte deux parties. La première s’intéresse au système légal de Porto Rico, un droit « hybride » ou « mixte » dans lequel coexistent à la fois le droit d’Europe continentale (droit civil) et le droit des États-Unis (droit commun). La signification de « droit mixte » est expliquée.
La seconde partie s’intéresse à la réforme du droit de la famille dans le Code civil de Porto Rico de 2020, en particulier les deux premiers livres relatifs aux personnes et à la famille. Elle présente les nouveautés les plus importantes et propose des critiques des changements effectués ou omis.
This chapter has two sections. The first section studies the legal system in Puerto Rico. The second is about the revision of family law, in the new Civil Code of 2020.
THE PUERTO RICO LEGAL SYSTEM
The Island of Puerto Rico was discovered in 1493 and, until 1898, was the property of the Spanish Crown. The Spanish Civil Code of 1888, approved on 24 July 1889, was extended to Puerto Rico on 31 July 1889. It entered into force on 1 January 1890.
As a result of the Spanish-American War, sovereignty over the island was ceded to the United States of America on 11 April 1899. Since then, Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States of America. The Civil Code and some other laws of Spanish origin, particularly those of a private law, as opposed to public law, nature were left in force, and they have remained so, with modifications. Many laws of American origin (such as Constitutional Law, Criminal Code and Civil Procedure) have since been adopted, and are also in force in Puerto Rico.
Although the Civil Code embodies the institutions and traditions of the so-called Romano-Germanic system, precedent and stare decisis, as practised in the United States of America, are followed in its interpretation and construction. This ‘hybrid’ or ‘mixed’ system of law, combining elements of European origin with elements of American Common Law (mainly that of the USA), is a living laboratory for the study of comparative law in action, and not merely on paper.