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A hybrid legal system combines parts of more than one approach to create a system that is unique in the country. Many countries have mixed legal systems that include general, civil, religious, and customary systems.59 For example, the state of Louisiana has a hybrid system. Louisiana uses some common law, but it also uses a civil justice system for much of its state laws and procedures because of its origins as a French territory. Even on recognized tribal lands, customary tribal rights can be used instead of state or federal laws. Another example is the Philippine system which, because of its history, includes French civil law, American-style common law, Sharia law, and indigenous customary law.60 Many African countries have a parallel tribal or ethnic legal system for ruling on family law issues.61 There are two main types of legal systems in the world, most countries adopting features of one or the other in their own legal systems: Common Law and Civil Law. Scotland, Louisiana, Mauritius and Quebec are examples of private law based on older civil and customary rules (not codified in Scotland) that persist in a common law environment. Israel has its own system, in which the former Ottoman and British mandates are now supplanted by a modern system. It does not have a single constitutional document, but much of modern law combines the great legislative simplicity of the main civil codes with the careful transparency of the common law judgment. Although the length of constitutions varies considerably, most details are usually devoted to the legislative and executive branches and the relationship between them. Federal systems, of course, have bicameral legislation. But also many unitary systems, where the House of Commons is directly elected and the House of Lords is composed of those who can represent rural interests (France) or have particular competences (Ireland). In most countries (but not in the United States), the House of Commons can ultimately override the House of Lords.

The source of the law that is recognized as authoritative is the codification in a constitution or a law adopted by the legislature to amend a law. While the concept of codification dates back to the Code of Hammurabi in Babylon around 1790 BC. Civil law systems originated in the Roman Empire and in particular the Corpus Juris Civilis, published by Emperor Justinian around 529 AD. It was a comprehensive reform of law in the Byzantine Empire, which brought it together in codified documents. Civil law has also been partially influenced by religious laws such as canon law and Islamic law. [5] [6] Today`s civil law is theoretically interpreted rather than developed or made by judges. Only legislative regulations (not precedents as in common law) are considered legally binding. This video discusses precedents and their importance in common law systems. Most modern legal systems can be described as either common law, civil law, or a mixture of both. Religious law refers to the notion of a religious system or document used as a legal source, although the methodology used varies. For example, the use of Judaism and halacha for public law has a static and immutable quality that excludes amendment by legislative acts of government or development by judicial precedent; Christian canon law is closer to civil law in its use of codes; And Islamic Sharia (and fiqh jurisprudence) is based on precedent and reasoning by analogy (qiyas) and is therefore considered similar to common law. [21] Most countries in Europe and South America use a civil justice system.47 A civil law system is based on comprehensive legal systems that contain all applicable laws in the country.

Case law – that is, judicial decisions – is secondary to these codes. The decisions are binding only on the parties to the dispute, and do not constitute a precedent for subsequent cases on the same issues. While lawyers consult previous decisions when advising clients, judges are rarely required to follow precedents. For this reason, legal codes tend to be more extensive and detailed than in common law systems. As a general rule, there are few generalizations that can be made between different constitutions. First, constitutions seek to regulate the division of powers, functions and duties among various agencies and government officials, and to define the relationship between them and the public. Second, no constitution, no matter how good, can protect a political system from effective usurpation. Third, those in power in many countries are more or less completely ignorant of the constitution. Fourth, even when constitutions do, none is complete: each operates within a matrix of compromises, customary laws or jurisprudence. Fifth, most begin by identifying (at least on paper) the constituent authority (as “the people”) and often invoke the deity (i.e., Canada, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Pakistan, Switzerland).

Sixth, as a rule, they separate the legislative, executive and judicial organs of the State. Seventh, they usually contain or incorporate a bill of rights. Eighth, they often provide a method of repealing laws and other unconstitutional instruments, including the Bill of Rights. Ninth, they approach the international scene only in general terms and in practice confer extensive powers on the (federal) executive. Finally, they deal with the status of international law, either by giving it direct internal effect or by denying it. In common law countries such as England and the United States, when a company is in financial difficulty, the focus is on restructuring rather than liquidation to continue the business as a business (e.g., U.S., Chapter 11, Administration of the United Kingdom). In civil jurisdictions, the process focuses on liquidation (although reform of some bankruptcy laws, such as France and OHADA countries, now allows debtors to be reorganized before they become insolvent). There is not always a written constitution or codified laws; Two common patterns are that of the presidential system and that of the parliamentary system. The former merges ceremonial and political power into a single office, with its holder elected directly and completely separately from the legislature: it is therefore quite possible (and common in the United States) for the president of one party and a majority of the legislature to belong to another party.

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