Different between civil law and common law


Civil law and common law are two major legal systems used in different countries around the world. While there are similarities between them, there are also key differences. Here are the main distinctions between civil law and common law:1. Origins and Historical Development: – Civil Law: The civil law system is derived from Roman law and was developed in continental Europe during the Middle Ages. It is based on a comprehensive legal code that covers various branches of law. – Common Law: The common law system originated in England and developed through court decisions and legal precedents established over centuries. It relies heavily on case law, which consists of decisions made by judges in previous cases.2. Sources of Law: – Civil Law: Civil law is codified, meaning that legal rules are primarily derived from written codes and statutes enacted by the legislative branch of government. These codes provide a detailed framework of legal principles and rules that judges apply to cases. – Common Law: Common law is primarily based on case law and legal precedents. Judges interpret and apply previous court decisions and principles established in earlier cases to decide current cases. Statutes and legislation also play a role in common law jurisdictions, but they are not the sole source of law.3. Role of Judges: – Civil Law: In civil law systems, judges have a more limited role in shaping the law. Their primary responsibility is to apply the law as written in the codes and statutes to the cases before them. They are expected to interpret the law but have less freedom to create new legal principles. – Common Law: Judges in common law systems have a more active role in shaping the law. They interpret statutes, apply legal precedents, and fill in gaps in the law through their decisions. Precedents set by higher courts are binding on lower courts and serve as a basis for future decisions.4. Legal Procedure: – Civil Law: Civil law systems typically follow an inquisitorial procedure, where judges take an active role in investigating the facts of a case and gathering evidence. The judge plays a central role in the trial and actively questions witnesses and parties involved. – Common Law: Common law systems generally follow an adversarial procedure, where the parties to a case present their arguments and evidence before a neutral judge or jury. The judge’s role is to ensure a fair process, rule on matters of law, and guide the jury if present.5. Flexibility and Adaptability: – Civil Law: Civil law systems are often seen as more rigid and less flexible compared to common law systems. Changes to the law usually require amendments to the existing codes and statutes enacted by the legislative branch. – Common Law: Common law systems are known for their flexibility and adaptability. Judges can create new legal principles and rules through their decisions, allowing the law to evolve and respond to societal changes more rapidly.It’s important to note that many countries have legal systems that incorporate elements of both civil law and common law, and there are variations and hybrid systems that exist as well. The above distinctions provide a general overview of the main differences between the two systems.

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