The Two Systems of Law: English Common Law vs. ???

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Uncategorized

Exploring the Two Systems of Law – English Common Law and Civil Law

As a law enthusiast, I have always been fascinated by the two different systems of law that are in use today – English Common Law and Civil Law. These two systems have shaped the legal landscape of countries around the world and have had a profound impact on the development of legal principles and practices.

English Common Law

English Common Law is a legal system that has its roots in medieval England. It is based on precedents, which are previous judicial decisions that have set a standard for interpretation and application of the law. This system places a strong emphasis on case law and the decisions made by judges in individual cases. Over time, English Common Law has evolved and has been adopted in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and India.

Civil Law

Civil Law, on the other hand, is based on codified laws and statutes. It is a more structured and comprehensive system of law that originated in ancient Rome and was later developed in continental Europe. Civil Law places a greater emphasis on written laws and statutes, which are created by legislative bodies. This system is predominant in many countries in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

Comparison of the Two Systems

Here is a comparison of some key aspects of the English Common Law and Civil Law:

Aspect English Common Law Civil Law
Source Law Precedents and case law Codified laws and statutes
Flexibility More flexible and adaptable More rigid and structured
Role Judges Interpret and apply the law Apply law as written

Case Studies

One of the most famous cases that exemplifies the differences between the two systems is the McDonald`s hot coffee case. In 1994, a woman sued McDonald`s after spilling hot coffee on her lap, resulting in severe burns. The case was decided in favor of the plaintiff, and she was awarded a significant amount of money in damages. This case became a symbol of the perceived frivolousness of lawsuits in the United States under the English Common Law system.

In contrast, in a Civil Law jurisdiction, the outcome of a similar case may have been different, as the focus would be more on the specific provisions of the law and less on the interpretation of precedents.

Both English Common Law and Civil Law have their own strengths and weaknesses, and they continue to coexist and influence legal systems around the world. As legal professionals, it is important to understand the nuances of these two systems and their impact on the practice of law.


The Two Systems of Law in Use Today: A Legal Contract

In the legal landscape, two primary systems of law are in use today: the English common law and the civil law system. This contract aims to establish the understanding and application of these two systems in a legal context.

Parties Definitions
Party A: [Legal Entity Name] English Common Law: The legal system developed in England and used in most English-speaking countries.
Party B: [Legal Entity Name] Civil Law System: A legal system based on codified laws and principles, used in many countries around the world.


Party A acknowledges the prevalence and applicability of the English common law system in its legal practice, while Party B recognizes the significance of the civil law system in its legal operations.

Both parties agree to respect and abide by the legal principles and precedents set forth in their respective systems of law, and to work collaboratively in instances where the two systems intersect or conflict.


Any amendments to this contract must be made in writing and signed by both parties.

Applicable Law

This contract shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of [Applicable Jurisdiction].


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have executed this contract as of the date first above written.

Party A: _____________________________

Party B: _____________________________


Top 10 Legal Questions and Answers

Legal Question Answer
1. What are the main differences between English common law and civil law systems? Oh, let me tell you about it! The English common law system is based on precedents and case law, while the civil law system relies on codified laws and statutes. It`s like comparing apples and oranges – both are fruit, but they have their own unique flavors.
2. How do the two systems of law affect the way legal disputes are resolved? Well, you see, in the common law system, judges have more flexibility to interpret the law and make decisions based on the specific facts of each case. In the civil law system, on the other hand, the emphasis is on following the letter of the law as written in the codes and statutes.
3. Are there any countries that use a combination of both legal systems? Absolutely! Some countries, like Canada and South Africa, have blended elements of both the common law and civil law systems to create a hybrid legal framework. It`s like mixing different ingredients to create a delicious dish – the result is a unique and flavorful legal system.
4. How does the concept of stare decisis apply in the English common law system? Ah, stare decisis – the principle of following precedent. In the common law system, judges are bound by decisions made in higher courts, creating a consistent and predictable body of case law. It`s like building a sturdy house brick by brick, with each precedent forming a solid foundation for future decisions.
5. What role do judges play in shaping the development of the common law? Oh, judges are like architects of the legal system! Through their interpretations and rulings, they contribute to the evolution of common law principles and doctrines. It`s a dynamic and ever-changing process, with each judicial decision adding a new layer to the rich tapestry of common law.
6. How are legal codes and statutes created and applied in the civil law system? In the civil law system, legislatures are the primary creators of laws, which are then codified into comprehensive legal codes. These codes serve as the foundation for legal decision-making and provide clear guidelines for resolving disputes. It`s like following a recipe – you have all the ingredients laid out for you, making the process straightforward and predictable.
7. What are the advantages of the common law system in promoting flexibility and adaptability? Well, the common law system allows for a more flexible approach to resolving legal issues, as judges can consider a wide range of factors and circumstances in their decision-making. This adaptability enables the law to evolve and respond to changing societal needs, like a chameleon blending seamlessly into its environment.
8. How does the civil law system promote legal certainty and predictability? Ah, in the civil law system, the emphasis on codified laws and statutes provides a high degree of legal certainty, as individuals and businesses can rely on a clear and consistent set of rules. This predictability helps to facilitate economic transactions and ensure stability within society, much like the steady rhythm of a well-orchestrated symphony.
9. Can individuals or businesses choose which legal system to use in resolving disputes? Yes, indeed! In some cases, parties may have the option to select the applicable law or forum for resolving their disputes, depending on the nature of the legal issue and the jurisdictions involved. It`s like having a buffet of legal options, allowing parties to tailor their approach to best suit their needs and preferences.
10. How do legal professionals navigate the differences between common law and civil law systems when working across international borders? Oh, it`s a fascinating challenge! Legal professionals must be well-versed in the nuances of both systems, as well as any applicable international laws and treaties. This requires a deep understanding of legal principles and an ability to adapt to varying legal frameworks, much like a skilled navigator charting a course through uncharted waters.