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Difference Between Civil and Common Law

law_balanceCivil vs Common Law
Civil law has its features compiled and codified into a collection for ready reference. It is inspired by the Roman law. On the other hand common law has its rules and regulations administered by judges and vary on a case to case basis.

The basis premonition for civil law is allowing easy accessibility to all citizens to its code of conduct which is well written. Judges have to follow the written word. This is the oldest legal framework in the world which is still existent in practice today. The source for civil law is finely prescribed in a set of standard rules and regulations suitable for any subject matter. This compendium is arranged in a classified order. It may be termed as a collection of similar articles written in staccato style.

The legislature’s enactment creates the law codes which covers all the former statutes pertaining to the subject including necessary changes amended by the court from time to time. In fact, in certain cases, this results into the creation of a new legal concept.
Common and Islamic law are the other two legal systems available for recourse.
Napoleon Bonaparte introduced Code Napoleon, which is a good model of civil law. This code comprises of the following components:

  • Persons
  • Forms of ownership
  • Ways of acquiring ownership

Civil law is often referred as Roman or Romano-German law. The term civil law is the English translation of the Latin term Jus Civile meaning citizen’s law that was the term used to describe its judiciary. On the contrary, the term common law was coined in England by the Anglophone people to describe their legal framework.

The main difference between the two is that customs dictate common law whereas civil law is written and which has to be abided by the courts. However, codification is not any means to classify civil law into a separate entity. The basic difference between civil and common law is in its methodological approach towards statutes and codes besides the difference in codification. Countries that follow the civil law system of jurisdiction, legislations are the main law source. This means that all the courts and judges make their final judgement based on the statutes and codes that are laid out for deriving a solution for similar problems.

The basic rules and principles have to be studied in great detail by the courts before coming to a conclusion on any civil matter. To achieve coherence, they have to sometimes draw analogies from the written down provisions for filling up the lacunae in the system. On the other hand, the case in the hand is only law source in common law and any statute is seen as a supplement to help in the decision making process.
1.Civil law was framed in France. Common law was started in England
2.Common law varies from case to case depending upon the customs of the society whereas civil law has a predefined written set of statutes and codes for reference.
3.Judgement in common law varies whereas in civil law, the judges have to strictly follow the codification written in the book.

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  1. I wanted to know the difference between Civil and Common Law. I was reading a novel and learned that Louisiana was the only state that use Napoleon legal system vs. the Common law that the rest of the nation uses. I wondered how these two systems were different.

    I’m not a student. I’m in my late sixties but I am still learning. Thanks

  2. I have receive the diference between and i know this will expand my knowledge and to learn more. I am so much happy. I hope to get more on different topics.

  3. I have to completely disagree with the author’s summary, Point 1, in that the author is mistaken when they state that “Civil law was framed in France”. Civil Law was delevoped from Roman Law.
    The author needs to ensure that their reference and research material is complete and accurate. I would like for the author to produce and reference to his source that claims that civil law began in France.
    According to the information contained in this article, the author must not be someone who is in the legal field. If they were, they would know it is necessary to back your information up with credible sources.

  4. Provide me with up dated information in this regard.Difference
    between civil law and common law.


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