Solidary Obligation Legal Definition:

Civil law: a legal relationship where one or more of several debtors are each liable to pay the entire amount, or one or more of several creditors each able to collect the whole.

Often confused with the common law concept of joint and several liability except that joint and several liability refers only to the exposure of more than one debtor.

Solidary obligations at civil law works both ways: it also allows a single creditor (obligee) the right to demand payment (or performance) from any or all of several debtors (obligors):

All for one and one for all!

The official English version of the Civil Code of France defers to the common law term joint and several. As of 2009, §1197 and §1198 of the France statute:

"An obligation is joint and several between several creditors, where the instrument of title expressly gives to each of them the right to demand payment of the whole claim, and payment made to one of them discharges the debtor, although the benefit of the obligation is to be partitioned and divided between the various creditors.

"It is at the choice of the debtor to pay one or another of joint and several creditors.... "

The Louisiana Civil Code, 2009, at §1756 and §1790, when read together, explain a solidary obligation:

"An obligation is a legal relationship whereby a person, called the obligor, is bound to render a performance in favor of another, called the obligee. Performance may consist of giving, doing, or not doing something.

"An obligation is solidary for the obligees when it gives each obligee the right to demand the whole performance from the common obligor."

Quebec's 2009 Civil Code at §1523:

"An obligation is solidary between the debtors where they are obligated to the creditor for the same thing in such a way that each of them may be compelled separately to perform the whole obligation and where performance by a single debtor releases the others towards the creditor."

French: obligation solidaire.

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