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Difference between act and legal fact

A legal act is a manifestation of will to create, modify, transfer or extinguish a right, with a favorable result for the person promoting the action.

A legal fact is any act that has a legal consequence. These consequences may encourage the creation, modification, transfer or termination of a right.

Although every legal act is a legal act, only legal acts that are of human origin, lawful and voluntary can be considered legal acts.

Legal act Legal fact
It is the manifestation of will to create legal relationships, through the creation, modification or extinction of a right. It is an act that generates legal consequences.
  • Positives and negatives.
  • Unilateral and bilateral.
  • Between living or last will.
  • Onerous and free.
  • Formal and informal.
  • Main and accessories.
  • Patrimonial and non-patrimonial.
  • natural
  • human
  • simple
  • complex
  • positive
  • negative
  • simultaneous
  • successive
  • contracts
  • Civil marriages
  • adoptions
  • natural disasters
  • A car crash.
  • Robbery
  • Payment default.

What is a legal act?

It is a conscious and voluntary act performed by an individual whose purpose is to establish legal relationships.

As a result of a legal act, a right or obligation can be created, modified, transferred or extinguished.

Essential elements of the legal act

For a legal act to be considered valid, it must have these elements:

  • subject: person or group of people who intervene in the legal act so that it can be carried out. This is the case of legal representatives, successors or third parties.
  • Manifestation of will: is the free consent expressed by the subject to carry out the legal act.
  • object: the fact or good for which a legal act will be made. It cannot be impossible, illegal, or contrary to good customs.
  • cause: it is the determining purpose of the will to carry out the legal act. For example, a person’s reason for selling a property.
  • shape: these are the requirements that must be met to carry out the legal act (drafting of contract, signature in front of a notary, etc.).

In a legal act there can also be natural elements, which are inherent in each specific legal act, and accidental elements, which are added in a manner agreed upon by the parties.

Types of legal acts

Positive and negative legal acts

A legal act is positive when it involves executing an action. The sale of an interlocutory implies the willingness to deliver the good in question, for example. Whereas in negative legal acts the subject refrains from performing the action, for example, refusing to comply with the schedule established in the employment contract.

Unilateral and bilateral legal acts

If a legal act requires the will of a single subject, it is unilateral (the sale of a house owned by him). When the will of more than one subject is required, it is a bilateral legal act (like marriage).

Legal acts between the living or last will

An inter vivos act is considered one that does not depend on the subject’s death for it to take effect (like a contract). On the other hand, if the legal effects begin after death, it is a legal act of last will, such as inheritances.

Onerous and free legal acts

If the act in question requires the obligation of the two parties involved, it is an onerous act, such is the case of sales contracts. If, on the other hand, only one of the parties has obligations, then it is a gratuitous act, such as donations.

Formal and informal legal acts

As the name suggests, formal legal acts involve the submission of a series of returns in accordance with existing laws. To enter into a civil marriage, the presentation of certain documents is required, for example. This is not necessary for non-formal legal acts, such as rental contracts.

Main legal acts and accessories

Principal legal acts are those that exist by themselves, such as a contract of sale. Accessory legal acts depend on a main act, as with sales of properties with mortgages.

Patrimonial and non-patrimonial legal acts

A legal act that involves an economic sense is a patrimonial act. Everything that is outside this area, especially if it has to do with the family area, is considered extrapatrimonial, such as marriage.

Administration and disposition

In an act of administration, the patrimony is preserved or increased, as is the case with rents. Whereas in disposals, the equity decreases, as would happen with a sale.

What is a legal fact?

A legal event is an act or phenomenon that, when it occurs, generates a legal effect, foreseen and typified in the current rules.

Legal facts can originate from acts of human behavior or nature and will always be contemplated in the legal system. When executed, they give rise to the fact that a right can be created, changed, given to a third party or lost, depending on the compliance with the laws.

Types of legal facts

Depending on its origin, a legal fact can be natural or human:

Natural legal fact

They are favored by nature and have legal effects. For example, a natural disaster that causes material or human losses can trigger a series of legal consequences, such as lawsuits, fines, etc.

Human legal fact

They are acts carried out by an individual or group and can be involuntary (a car crash) or voluntary (signing a contract). In the latter case, they are legal acts.

Depending on their structure, legal facts can be simple or complex:

Simple legal facts

They are those that are generated from a single act, such as the birth or death of a person.

Complex legal facts

They are subject to various acts, such as the possession of an asset. In this case, both the good, property or thing itself, and the intention to be the owner are required.

Depending on the type of action, they can be positive or negative:

Positive legal facts

They require making or changing the circumstances for the event to occur. For example, homicide.

Negative legal facts

They involve the omission or forbearance of an action, such as a default in payment.

Depending on their temporality, legal events can be simultaneous or successive:

Simultaneous legal facts

They are done over a period of time, as is the case of a robbery.

Successive legal facts

They involve an extension in time, like a kidnapping, which involves deprivation of liberty for a period.

See also direct and indirect protection

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