Difference Between Civil and Common Law

Civil vs Common Law

Civil Law or Civilian Law is a system of law which has been inspired by the Roman law. The main feature of this law is that the laws are written in to a collection, codified and is not determined by the judges. Civil Law is a group of legal ideas and systems which have been derived from the Code of Justinian; however, they are highly overlaid by the Germanic, Ecclesiastical, Feudal and Local Practices as well as doctrinal strains such as the natural law, codification and legislative positivism. Civil Law usually processes from abstractions, creates principles for general issues, and distinguishes the substantive rules from procedural rules. Civil Law holds legislation as the sole source of law and system of court is normally inquisitive and unbound by precedent and it composes of a number of specially trained officers from field of judiciary who have been provided with limited authority for the purpose of interpretation of law. The juries separate from the judges are not used, however, in some cases, volunteer lay judges are allowed to participate with judges that are legally trained.

Common Law or case law is a law which has been made by judges through the decisions made by courts and tribunals similar to these courts instead of making laws through a legislative or executive branch action. Common Law System is a legal system which gives weight to common law. This follows principle that treating different cases differently in different occasions is unfair. The body of precedence is called ‘Common Law’ and the future decisions are made through it. Under such circumstances where parties are not agreeing on the law which has been made, a court of Common Law takes a precedential decision from the relevant court. In case a similar dispute has been resolved in past, the court is to follow the reasoning which was used in the earlier case. If the court feels that the dispute is different from the dispute sought out earlier, it is the duty of court to create a law. The decision made in this case is then going to be considered precedent and the future courts will have to follow it. The system of common law is normally thought to be more complicated in nature.

The main difference between the two types of laws is that the common law is dictated by customs while the civil law is written and has to be abided by the courts. Codification, in all cases, doesn’t mean the classification of civil law in to a separate entity. Civil and Common Law have the basic difference in the methodological approach towards statutes and codes other than the difference in codification. Countries which are following civil law system of jurisdiction, legislations are the main source of law. This means that all of the courts and judges have to make final judgment which is based on statutes and codes which are laid out for deriving a solution for similar problems. The basic rules and principles of this law have to be studied in detail by courts before they come to any conclusion about some civil matter.