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The world four major legal systems: A short comparison The world four major legal systems: A short comparison

Bronze medal Reporter Josily Posted 26 Jun 2019 Read More News and Blogs
The world four major legal systems: A short comparison

Different names

  • Common law-Anglo-American, English, judge-made, legislation from the bench
  • Civil law-Continental, Romano-Germanic, European Continental
  • Socialist law-Soviet
  • Islamic law-Religious law, Sharia

Source of law

  • Common law-Case law, statutes/legislation
  • Civil law-Statutes/legislation
  • Socialist law-Statutes/legislation
  • Islamic law-Religious documents

Lawyers

  • Common law-Judges act as impartial referees; lawyers are responsible for presenting the case
  • Civil law-Judges dominate trials
  • Socialist law-Judges dominate trials
  • Islamic law-Secondary role

Judges' qualifications

  • Common law-Career lawyers (appointed or elected)
  • Civil law-Career judges
  • Socialist law-Career bureaucrats, Party members
  • Islamic law-Religious as well as legal training

Degree of judicial independence

  • Common law-High
  • Civil law-High; separate from the executive and the legislative branches of government
  • Socialist law-Very limited
  • Islamic law-Ranges from very limited to high

Juries

  • Common law-Provided at trial level
  • Civil law-May adjudicate in conjunction with judges in serious criminal matters
  • Socialist law-Often used at lowest level
  • Islamic law-Allowed in Maliki school,not allowed in other schools

Policy-making role

  • Common law- Courts share in balancing power
  • Civil law-Courts have equal but separate power
  • Socialist law-Courts are subordinate to the legislature
  • Islamic law-Courts and other government branches are theoretically subordinate to the Shari'a. In practice, courts historically made the Shari'a, while today, the religious courts are generally subordinate to the executive.

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Examples

  • Common law

Australia, UnitedKingdom (except Scotland), Israel, India, Cyprus, Nigeria, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, United States (except Louisiana), Canada (except Quebec), New Zealand, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh

  • Civil law

All European Union states (except the UK, Ireland, and Cyprus) and European states (except Switzerland), Mexico, all of continental South and Middle America (except Guyanaand Belize), Quebec, all of East Asia (except Hong Kong), all of North Africa, Francophone and Lusophone Africa, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Iraq, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Madagascar, Lebanon, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Louisiana

  • Socialist law

Soviet Union, China (except Hong Kong)

  • Islamic law

Many Muslim countries have adopted parts of Sharia Law. Examples include Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Sudan, Malaysia, Pakistan and Yemen.

 

 

 

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