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Four Legal Traditions

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Anna Lerch

on 5 December 2012

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Transcript of Four Legal Traditions

Common Law
Civil Law
Socialist Law
Islamic Law Four Major Legal Traditions of the World Common Law throughout History Emerged in England during the Middle Ages
Unified England in the 17th century when Common Law triumphed over other legal traditions
William Blackstone’s (1723-1780) Commentaries on the Laws of England- definitive source for common law precedents prior to the existence of the United States.
Spread through colonization and war. Common Law (cont'd) The Common Law is an Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, based on unwritten laws developed through judicial decisions that create binding precedent. The Common Law system is currently in practice in Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), United Kingdom, and the United States.

Primarily unwritten or uncodified
Relies on precedent
Adversarial System with Judicial Review
Juries (Grand and Petit)
Civil Law throughout History Roman law commissioned by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century CE.
19th Century France and Germany
By the Middle Ages it was taught throughout most of Europe.
Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius’ 1631 work, Introduction to Dutch Jurisprudence, synthesized Roman law and Dutch customary law into a cohesive legal perspective.
Examples of Civil Law: Austria’s 1786 Code of Joseph II and Complete Civil Code of 1811, Prussia’s Complete Territorial Code of 1794, and France’s Civil Code (known as the Napoleonic Code) of 1804. Civil Law (cont'd) The civilian system of law is a codified law that sets out a comprehensive system of rules that are applied and interpreted by judges. It is by and large the most commonly practiced system of law in the world, with almost 60 % of the world's population living in a country ruled on the civilian system.

Written or Codified Law (comprehensive, continuously updated legal codes that specify all matters capable of being brought before a court)
Precedent is not usually recognized unless as a last resort
Inquisitorial (all parties are expected to participate and the trial is led by the judge based on Codified Law. If case goes to trial then there is a strong presumption of guilt compared to common law which is the more common belief of innocent until proven guilty.) Socialist Law throughout History Originated in 1917 with the Russian Revolution and USSR
Based on codified Marxist/Leninist ideology.
Borrows some ideas from China (Confuscius)
Socialist Law (cont'd) Similar to civil law but with an increased public law sector and a decreased private law sector
Emphasizes communal values over individual rights
Written Law or Codified
Precedent is not recognized
Quasi-Jury System
-Collegial bench
-No right to remain silent
Combination of Inquisitorial and Adversarial
-mostly inquisitorial
-emphasis on confessions as evidence is not presented to defendants prior to trial
-can defend themselves in court or hire an advocate Islamic Law Written or Codified (Qur’anic precepts, interpretations, and commentary, constitution, Shari’a: path to follow)
There are two primary sources of islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah
No precedent and no juries
Inquisitorial and Adversarial
Islamic law has four distinctions from other legal traditions:
-based on direct revelation from God
-attempts to regulate behavior and thought processes
-does not require uniformity of law
-taxonomy of crime and punishment
Islamic Law
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