Louisiana Civil Code

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CHAPTER 5 - PROOF OF OBLIGATIONS

Art. 1831. A party who demands performance of an obligation must prove the existence of the obligation.

A party who asserts that an obligation is null, or that it has been modified or extinguished, must prove the facts or acts giving rise to the nullity, modification, or extinction. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1832. When the law requires a contract to be in written form, the contract may not be proved by testimony or by presumption, unless the written instrument has been destroyed, lost, or stolen. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1833. A. An authentic act is a writing executed before a notary public or other officer authorized to perform that function, in the presence of two witnesses, and signed by each party who executed it, by each witness, and by each notary public before whom it was executed. The typed or hand-printed name of each person shall be placed in a legible form immediately beneath the signature of each person signing the act.

B. To be an authentic act, the writing need not be executed at one time or place, or before the same notary public or in the presence of the same witnesses, provided that each party who executes it does so before a notary public or other officer authorized to perform that function, and in the presence of two witnesses and each party, each witness, and each notary public signs it. The failure to include the typed or hand-printed name of each person signing the act shall not affect the validity or authenticity of the act.

C. If a party is unable or does not know how to sign his name, the notary public must cause him to affix his mark to the writing. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985; Acts 2003, No. 965, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2005]

Art. 1834. An act that fails to be authentic because of the lack of competence or capacity of the notary public, or because of a defect of form, may still be valid as an act under private signature. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1835. An authentic act constitutes full proof of the agreement it contains, as against the parties, their heirs, and successors by universal or particular title. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1836. An act under private signature is regarded prima facie as the true and genuine act of a party executing it when his signature has been acknowledged, and the act shall be admitted in evidence without further proof.

An act under private signature may be acknowledged by a party to that act by recognizing the signature as his own before a court, or before a notary public, or other officer authorized to perform that function, in the presence of two witnesses. An act under private signature may be acknowledged also in any other manner authorized by law.

Nevertheless, an act under private signature, though acknowledged, cannot substitute for an authentic act when the law prescribes such an act. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1837. An act under private signature need not be written by the parties, but must be signed by them. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1838. A party against whom an act under private signature is asserted must acknowledge his signature or deny that it is his.

In case of denial, any means of proof may be used to establish that the signature belongs to that party. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1839. A transfer of immovable property must be made by authentic act or by act under private signature. Nevertheless, an oral transfer is valid between the parties when the property has been actually delivered and the transferor recognizes the transfer when interrogated on oath.

An instrument involving immovable property shall have effect against third persons only from the time it is filed for registry in the parish where the property is located. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1840. When certified by the notary public or other officer before whom the act was passed, a copy of an authentic act constitutes proof of the contents of the original, unless the copy is proved to be incorrect. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1841. When an authentic act or an acknowledged act under private signature has been filed for registry with a public officer, a copy of the act thus filed, when certified by that officer, constitutes proof of the contents of the original. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1842. Confirmation is a declaration whereby a person cures the relative nullity of an obligation.

An express act of confirmation must contain or identify the substance of the obligation and evidence the intention to cure its relative nullity.

Tacit confirmation may result from voluntary performance of the obligation. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1843. Ratification is a declaration whereby a person gives his consent to an obligation incurred on his behalf by another without authority.

An express act of ratification must evidence the intention to be bound by the ratified obligation.

Tacit ratification results when a person, with knowledge of an obligation incurred on his behalf by another, accepts the benefit of that obligation. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1844. The effects of confirmation and ratification are retroactive to the date of the confirmed or ratified obligation. Neither confirmation nor ratification may impair the rights of third persons. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1845. A donation inter vivos that is null for lack of proper form may be confirmed by the donor but the confirmation must be made in the form required for a donation.

The universal successor of the donor may, after his death, expressly or tacitly confirm such a donation. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1846. When a writing is not required by law, a contract not reduced to writing, for a price or, in the absence of a price, for a value not in excess of five hundred dollars may be proved by competent evidence.

If the price or value is in excess of five hundred dollars, the contract must be proved by at least one witness and other corroborating circumstances. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1847. Parol evidence is inadmissible to establish either a promise to pay the debt of a third person or a promise to pay a debt extinguished by prescription. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]

Art. 1848. Testimonial or other evidence may not be admitted to negate or vary the contents of an authentic act or an act under private signature. Nevertheless, in the interest of justice, that evidence may be admitted to prove such circumstances as a vice of consent or to prove that the written act was modified by a subsequent and valid oral agreement. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985; Acts 2012, No. 277, §1, eff. Aug. 1, 2012]

Art. 1849. In all cases, testimonial or other evidence may be admitted to prove the existence or a presumption of a simulation or to rebut such a presumption. Nevertheless, between the parties, a counterletter is required to prove that an act purporting to transfer immovable property is an absolute simulation, except when a simulation is presumed or as necessary to protect the rights of forced heirs. [Added by Acts 2012, No. 277, §1, eff. Aug. 1, 2012]

Arts. 1850-1852. [Repealed. Acts 1997, No. 577, §3]

Art. 1853. A judicial confession is a declaration made by a party in a judicial proceeding. That confession constitutes full proof against the party who made it.

A judicial confession is indivisible and it may be revoked only on the ground of error of fact. [Acts 1984, No. 331, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985]