Introduction to Civil Legal System and it's features

Introduction to Civil Legal System and it's features

Introduction of Civil Legal System (Continental Legal System)

Civil law is possibly the most influential legal system of the world. However, the lawyers and judges trained in the common law traditions know little about either the history or operation of Civil law, beyond the surface, like civil law is not adversarial but more inquisitorial, code based and the judges do not establish precedent and interpret the law, but follow pre determined legal rules etc. Hence, to have a deeper sense of civil law tradition, an understanding of the origin and development of civil law, especially during the medieval period, is required.

Origin of Civil Legal System (Continental Legal System)

Civil law and its traditions is the most dominant legal tradition today in most of Europe, all of central and South America, parts of Asia and Africa and even some area of Common law e.g. Louisiana, Quebec and Puerto Rico. The development of civil law is based on the adaptation of Roman law during the medieval period. Civil law is also referred as continental legal system, however, the civil law system is not uniform, it is divided into four sub groups namely French Civil Law, German Civil Law, Austrian Civil Law and Scandinavian Civil Law.

Sources of Civil Law

Civil Legal System has recognized follow sources of law:

1. Constitution

2. Treaties

3. Codes

4. Separate Statues

5. Regulations and Administrative directives

6. Custom

7. Decided cases

Features of Civil Legal System (Continental Legal System)

The continental legal system/civil law has the following characteristics:

1. It is a legal system inspired by Roman law, the primary feature of which is that laws are written into a collection, codified, and not determined, as in common law, by judges.

2  The cardinal principle of this system is to provide all citizens with an accessible and written collection of the laws,

3. It is the most prevalent and oldest surviving legal system in the world.

4. Continental legal system is sometimes inappropriately referred to as Roman law or otherwise called Romano-Germanic law, especially by people under its jurisdiction.

5. The civil law system is based on Roman law, especially the Corpus Juris Civilis of Emperor Justinian, as later developed during the Middle Ages.

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