Common Law and Civil Law Systems

Common law and civil law are two major legal systems used in the world. Common law is a legal system that originated in England and is based on both legal precedents and codified laws, whereas civil law is a legal system that is based on codified laws rather than judicial decisions.

In a common law system, judges interpret the law and make decisions based on legal precedents established in previous cases. These decisions are binding on lower courts and become part of the body of law known as case law or judge-made law. Common law systems are used in countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.

In a civil law system, laws are codified and arranged into a comprehensive system. Judges are responsible for interpreting and applying the law, but they are not bound by legal precedents in the same way that judges in a common law system are. Civil law systems are used in countries such as France, Germany, and Japan.

There are also hybrid legal systems that combine elements of both common law and civil law. These systems are used in jurisdictions such as Scotland and South Africa.

Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Common law systems are often more flexible and adaptable, while civil law systems are typically more predictable and consistent. Ultimately, the choice of legal system depends on the cultural, historical, and political context of the country in question.
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