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What are the differences between a real action and a personal action?

Differences between a real action and a personal action

The differences between a «real action» and «personal action» help us to better understand each of the concepts independently.

They are two categories of legal actions that are used in the field of law to address different types of claims and disputes. These categories are mainly used in legal systems of the Romano-Germanic tradition, such as the European continental system and the civil law system. In Spanish law, we find them in the Civil Code. There are several differences between them and they will be detailed below.

Real action Personal action
Its purpose is to guarantee a right in rem Its purpose is to guarantee a personal right
It is exercised against any person who improperly possesses the thing or disturbs it. It is exercised only against the debtor of the obligation or his heir.
Follow the thing wherever it is. It does not follow the thing, but depends on the legal relationship between the parties.
Gives preference to the owner of the right in rem over other creditors. It does not grant preference to the holder of the personal right over other creditors.
It prescribes in a longer term than the personal action. Prescribes in a shorter term than the actual action.

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