The Anomalous Interaction Between Code and Statute—Lessor’s Warranty and Statutory Waiver

This Article takes up the debate regarding the Louisiana Civil Code’s role and status as the foremost source of private law in this state, focusing on an aspect of the “ongoing revision” of the Code of 1870 that has thus far been largely ignored by the scholarly dialogue—the complex relationship between the Louisiana Civil Code and the Louisiana Revised Statutes. Although special legislation plays an essential role in all codified legal systems, its relationship to the Civil Code must be clearly understood, lest statutory law be allowed to undermine core principles of the legal system. Although the code is no longer the sole, or even primary, source of law in many civil law jurisdictions, special legislation must be made and applied cautiously, so to minimize deviations from the default rules of the code. In Louisiana, statutory law, particularly that found in the Civil Code Ancillaries, too often subverts the Civil Code rather than supporting it. This Article seeks to elucidate the causes and consequences of this anomalous interaction between code and statute, using as a case study the law governing waivers of the lessor’s responsibility for the condition of the leased premises.