The body of law developed from court judgments rather than laws is known as common law or case law.
The common law is used when written laws or statutes cannot be used to decide a decision’s conclusion. When a common-law court hears a new case, it turns to previous precedents for guidance.
The courts of English monarchs are the source of common law in American courts. Many of the colonies of the British Empire are still governed by the common law system that the British Empire introduced.
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Differences Between the Common Law and Other Legal Systems
In contrast to common law, civil law is a body of legally codified statutes and laws enacted by legislators as opposed to the common law. Judges in civil law use the civil code to analyze cases and provide judgments.
Cases may be taken to court in civil systems, and there are specific rules governing how claims are handled and the penalties for offenses. Civil and common law’s purpose is to achieve consistent results by following the same interpretive criteria.
As a result, certain nations have customary laws based on established patterns of behavior or conventions. Countries in other parts of the world have legal systems based on religious scriptures or traditions.
Islamic nations have a high prevalence of religiously based legal systems. Mixed legal systems are popular in various nations, combining common law and different legal systems.
The common law governs laws in the following countries:
- American Samoa
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bangladesh – family law is heavily based on Shariah law.
- Bhutan – has Indian influence and religious law as well.
- The British Virgin Islands
- Canada – except in Quebec, where a civil law system based on French law is used
- Cayman Islands
- Cyprus – has civil law influences, specifically in criminal law.
- England and Wales
- Hong Kong (principally based on common law)
- India – except in Goa, Daman, Diu, and Dadra, and Nagar Haveli
- Israel – also incorporates civil law and Halakha and Sharia for family law.
- Liberia – also uses customary law.
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Northern Ireland
- Pakistan – with provisions of Islamic law
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Singapore – Muslims are subject to the Sharia Court’s jurisdiction over Muslim personal law
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States – except in Louisiana, where the law is based on French and Spanish Civil law
|Trinidad and Tobago||1406.5850|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||111.5510|
|Antigua and Barbuda||99.5090|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||53.8710|
|British Virgin Islands||30.5960|