Common and civil law legal systems

What is Common Law vs. While common law originates in Medieval England, civil law traces its origins back to the Roman Empire and, subsequently, Continental Europe. Although both systems originate in Europe, they have been exported to many other countries, either through colonization or other means.

Common and civil law legal systems

Though all legal systems have the same purpose of regulating and harmonizing the human action within their respective societies, these legal systems are all driven towards certain fundamental likenesses and differences in their lawful frameworks.

Most countries today follow one of the two most prominent legal systems: The common law system developed in England amid the middle ages and was applied to the former British colonies across the world.

And the civil law system created in Europe was applied in the colonies of European imperial powers such as Spain and Portugal. This article tries to explain these two systems and to distinguish the fundamental difference between common law and civil law based on their methods of thought and attitudes towards the law as a legal system.

The source of law remains the main source of difference between common law and civil law. Even though common law frameworks make reference to statute law, case law or judicial precedents remain to be the most important source of law, which gives judges a dynamic part in creating rules.

In civil law system, extensive reference is made to codes and statutes that are designed to cover all eventualities, and the judges tend to have a much-limited role to play in terms of applying the codified law to particular situations.

Thus precedents of case laws would only be used as mere guidelines. Accordingly, when cases are heard under the civil law legal systems, the judges act simply as investigators, while in common-law systems, the judges seem to hold a more prominent role by acting as arbitrators between the two conflicting parties.

This implies that there is no complete compilation of legal principles and statutes. Thus a common law system is less prescriptive than a civil law system.

While common law relies on few statutes, which are a result of the decisions of the legislative authority, it is extensively based on precedents or the judicial decisions made in comparable cases — generally the decisions of higher courts, which entrust the judges of the common law system with enormous role in shaping the law.

For instance, the elements expected to demonstrate the crime of homicide are contained in the case law, as opposed to the law characterized by statute. To ensure uniformity, courts follow the precedents set by higher courts in cases dealing with similar matters.

These precedents are recorded and are documented as case laws through yearbooks, and legal reports. Common law functions as an adversarial system where the judge acts as a moderator between the two conflicting parties. Common law lawyers claim that their system is more flexible since it can adjust to circumstances without any legislative interference.

Countries with civil law frameworks have a wide-ranging and a constantly updated legal principles that encompass all matters fit for being brought before a court — the relevant procedures, and the fitting punishment for every offense. Such codes recognize distinctive classes of law: Although a judge brings the formal charges, investigates the matter, and provided the verdict on the case, he or she functions within a framework of codified and structured legal rules and principles.

A civil law framework is by and large more prescriptive than a common law framework. Legal personalities in civil-law jurisdictions believe that their system is more steady and reasonable than common-law systems since the laws are expressed explicitly and are easier to determine in civil jurisdictions.Legal systems around the world vary greatly, but they usually follow civil law or common law.

In common law, past legal precedents or judicial rulings are used to decide cases at hand. Under civil law, codified statutes and ordinances rule the land.

Common and civil law legal systems

The American legal system remains firmly within the common law tradition brought to the North American colonies from England.

Yet traces of the civil law tradition and its importance in the hemisphere maybe found within state legal traditions across the United States.

97 rows · The Islamic legal system of Sharia (Islamic law) and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) is the . Common Law and Civil Law Legal systems differ considerably in criminal procedure and civil procedures. Although some systems, including the Common legal system, let private individuals to bring a criminal prosecution against others, prosecutions are nearly always started by the state, in order to punish the defendant.

Civil law systems, also called continental or Romano-Germanic legal systems, are found on all continents and cover about 60% of the world. They are based on concepts, categories, and rules derived from Roman law, with some influence of canon law, sometimes largely supplemented or modified by local custom or culture.

Civil Law, in contrast, is codified. Countries with civil law systems have comprehensive, continuously updated legal codes that specify all matters capable of being brought before a court, the applicable procedure, and the appropriate punishment for each offense.

The Common Law and Civil Law Traditions