Law of Obligations – the category of law dealing with the modes of acquiring property in personam (relating to persons), particularly relations between the obligor and the obligee

law of obligations:

1. The category of law dealing with proprietary rights in personam namely, the relations between obligor and obligee.  *  It is one of the three departments into which civil law was traditionally divided.  See IN PERSONAM.


in personam:
[Latin “against a person”]

l. Involving or determining the personal rights and obligations of the parties.

2. Civil procedure. (Of a legal action) brought against a person rather than property. — aka personal.  See action in personam. — in personam, adv. [1]

     Excerpt from R.H. Graveson’s Conflict of Laws (7th ed. 1974):

     “An action is said to be in personam when its object is to determine the rights and interests of the parties themselves in the subject-matter of the action, however the action may arise, and the effect of a judgment in such an action is merely to bind the parties to it. A normal action brought by one person against another for breach of contract is a common example of an action in personam. [2]

        It is one of the three departments into which civil law was traditionally divided: persons, property, and modes of acquiring property (obligations).  In modern civil codes that follow the model of the German Civil Code, civil law is divided into five books: general principles, obligations, family law, property, and succession.

Law of Property – the category of law dealing with proprietary rights in rem (relating to “things”), such as personal servitudes, predial servitudes, and rights of real security.

Law of Status – the category of law dealing with personal or nonproprietary rights, whether in rem (relating to “things”) or in personam (relating to persons).

General Principle of Law – a principle recognized in all kinds of legal relations, regardless of the legal system to which it belongs.

Family Law – marriage, divorce, adoption, child custody and support, child abuse and neglect, paternity, assisted reproductive technology, and other domestic-relations issues.


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is pertinent to people everywhere, and is being utilized in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: R.H. Graveson, Conflict of Laws 98 (7th ed. 1974).


Back to Intro to U.S. Law

Legal Precepts Adopted (from Europe) into The U.S. Constitution

§ § of Law Embedded into the Constitution Pursuant to the American Revolution

Indian Country Law

Federal Rules of Procedure

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