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Legal systems

The three major legal systems of the world today consist of

  • Civil law
  • Common law and
  • Religious law.

However, each country often develops variations on each system or incorporates many other features into the system For instance, Pluralistic systems- these are some countries that using two types of the legal systems. These countries are called pluralistic countries.

Common Law

  • Common Law - Common law developed in England, influenced by the Norman conquest of England that introduced legal concepts from Norman law. Common law was later inherited by the Commonwealth of Nations, and almost every former colony of the British Empire has adopted it. Common law gives significance to precedent system that is judicial decisions.
  • Common law is currently in practice in Ireland, most of the United Kingdom (England and Wales and Northern Ireland), Australia, India (excluding Goa), Pakistan, South Africa, Canada (excluding Quebec), Hong Kong, the United States (excluding Louisiana) and many other places.
  • The key factors in the development of modern common law are:
  1. The end of Feudalism
  2. Formalized education in law
  3. Creation of Bar and Bench
  4. Record of Court decisions as Precedents

Civil Law

  • Civil law is also referred to as Continental European law. The central source of this law that is codifications or statute passed by legislature, to amend a code.
  • Civil law systems mainly derive from the Roman Empire, and more particularly, the Corpus JurisCivilis issued by the Emperor Justinian (529AD). This led to an extensive reform of the law bringing it together into codified documents.
  • Civil law divides into three distinct groups: French civil law: in France, the Benelux countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, then Italy, Spain and former colonies of those countries; German civil law: in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, former Yugoslav republics, Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Japan and South Korea Scandinavian civil law: in Denmark, Norway Sweden. As former colonies, Finland and Iceland inherited the system from their neighbors.
  • Civil law was also partly influenced by religious laws such as Canon law and Islamic law. Only legislative enactments are considered legally binding.

Religious Law

  • Religious law refers to the notion of a religious system or document being used as a legal source, E.g.: Christian Canon law or Islamic Sharia law.
  • Religious law countries are Afghanistan,Bangladesh, Iran,Libya,Mauritania,Morocco,Oman, Saudi Arabia,Sudan,Yemenetc.
  • In this post modern era, we have Pluralistic laws that includes political entities where two or more systems apply cumulatively or interactively, but also entities where there is a juxtaposition of systems as a result of more or less clearly defined fields of application. It is the integration and harmonization with different culture and heritage.
  • For instance, Malaysia is based on the common law legal system but largely follows Islamic law. Chinese law is a mixture of civil law and socialist law. Likewise, Civil law and common law are seen in countries such as Israel, Malta, Thailand, Civil law and religious law countries Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia.

So the very purpose of jurisprudence, by means of its broad and manifold nature, mold for new challenges and it paves new avenues in the field of research with vast potentialities.

All these theories aim at - "What law is" or "What law aims at." that gives the rationality on principles behind laws as exist today

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