Key differences between Civil and Common Legal Systems

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    Hi Mike,

    Please could you otline the key differences between the common and the co=ivil legal system apart from the use of judicial precedent in common and lack of it in the civil system

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    Heres a very good answer to your question, given by member acltang72 1 week, 2 days ago. S/he has said it all.


    Civil Law

    •Private law

    •Aim is to provide compensatory remedies (no concept of punishment)

    •Claimant sues (makes a claim against) the defendant

    •Decisions made by the judge (liable/not liable)

    •Cases cited in the form of Brown V. Brown

    •Case must be proved on the “balance of probability” (Claimant must convince the court that it is more probable than not that their assertions are true)

    •Both parties may chose to settle the dispute out of court if they wish

    •Buying/ selling goods, starting/finishing employment contract – Governed by civil law


    Criminal Law

    •Public law

    •Aim is to punish offenders and to enforce the law, because it is the community as a whole which suffers as a result of the law being broken i.e. harmful to society

    •State prosecutes the accused (wrongdoer)

    •Generally the custody officer (police) takes the initial decision to prosecute the defendant, and then it is consulted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) before bringing forward sufficient evidence to provide that there’s a realistic prospect of conviction

    •Regulates behaviour not approved by the state

    •Decisions made by the jury (guilty/not guilty)

    •Cases cited in the form of Regina V. Brown (indicates that the state takes action on the behalf of the crown)

    •Receives more media coverage than civil law

    •Person’s guilty of a crime may be punished by fines payable to the state, imprisonment, or a community-based punishment

    •Some prosecutions are started by the director of public prosecutions

    •Case must be proved “beyond reasonable doubt”

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    Sorry the above answer is quite good to compare CIVIL law vs Criminal Law .

    For your question Common Law and Civil law

    Common Law
    Emerged in England during the Middle ages
    Common Law is UN-codified ( no comprehensive compilation of legal rules and statutes )
    Relies on some scattered statutues(legislative decisions) , based on precedents set by judges
    Judges have enormous role in shaping law.
    It is an adversarial system ( context between two opposing parties and a judge as a moderator )
    A jury of ordinary people may decide the facts of the case

    Civil Law
    developed in continental Europe in Middle ages
    It is codified ( comprehensive legal codes which are continuously updated)
    The role of judge is to establish facts and apply the code as applicable ( work within the framework)
    Judges decision is less important in shaping civil law

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