Civil vs. Common Law

Difference Between Civil and Common Law The Civil Code or the civil law system was inspired by Roman law. The main characteristics of this law are that the laws are put into a collection, codified and are not determined by the judges. The Civil Code or the civil law is a collection of legal ideas taken from various sources. These sources include the Code of Justinian, the Germanic, feudal and ecclesiastical practices as well as local codes. Civil law is also derived from natural law and general principles of life. The Civil Code deals with the abstractions, makes general principles and differentiates between different procedures and rules. According to the Civil Code, legislation is the only source of law. It is dependent on the court system and the precedents set by the court. Those who practice civil law are specially trained in the field of judiciary. They have some legal authority to interpret law. Sometimes, some volunteer judges are permitted to practice along with the legally trained judges. On the other hand, common law is the law that has been created by the judges over years based on the various decisions taken by the courts. These laws are not made through executive or legislative action. The common law system gives enough importance to common law. It believes that it is unfair and biased to treat different cases differently in the light of different situations.  Common law is based on precedence. Many legal decisions in the future are made based on it. There are situations where the opposing parties do not agree on a particular law. In such cases, the court of common law passes a precedential decision, which has to be accepted by all. In case a similar problem has been solved in the past, then the court of common law follows the same line of reasoning as was used in the previous case to solve the present one. If however, the court believes that the problem is different from the argument unearthed earlier, then it is the duty of the court to create a new law. Whatever decision will be taken in this case will be considered as a precedent. Later, in the future, other courts will be required to follow it. Thus, the concept of common law is more complex. The major distinction between the two types of legislation is that common law is determined by customs while the Civil Code is written down and must be supported by the courts of law. Codification does not imply that the civil law has to be classified to create a separate entity. Civil and common law are fundamentally different in their methodological approach to codes and statutes other than the difference in coding. In countries that follow the civil code system of jurisdiction, the primary source of laws is legislation. This implies that all legal courts and the judges must take their final decision based on the statutes and codes that exist for the purpose of obtaining a solution for problems of a similar nature. The rules and principles of this law must be examined in detail by the law courts before they come to any decision regarding a civil matter.

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