How Law Systems Differ Around the Globe

When the law is brought up as a subject, people think that all countries are fair and equal. The types of trials, how juries are selected, and the punishments are never the same in different countries. From common law to religious law, there is a unique legal system for every country globally.


Common law is shaped by judicial precedents or laws that are determined by judges’ decisions. In other words, many laws are determined by cases that have already been made in court. When two or more parties disagree on a legal matter, the common law court reviews precedents to create a resolution. The most well-known example is the U.S. legal system, in which the decisions of precedent cases are given priority.

Civil Law

Civil law, which originated in Roman law, is based on natural law and substantive rules inherent in society. Civil law includes:

  • Statutory law consisting of statutes passed by legislature bodies.
  • Procedural law determines how cases are resolved through due process.

An example is the Napoleonic Code, which was the Civil Code of the French that governed people, property, and businesses. This code has influenced numerous other countries in the Middle East and Latin America.

Religious Law

Religious law comprises legal rules that are based on moral codes written in religious texts. In most developed countries, the government is controlled by secular laws. Democratic countries point to separate church and state or keep religious matters out of legal and political systems. In addition, there exists Christian canon law that governs Christian churches and organizations.

Mixed Law

Mixed law includes two or more legal systems combined into one. A hybrid legal system tends to combine historical legal traditions with modern practices that are more up-to-date with a changing society. An example is a country that combines civil law and common law systems.

Knowing how law systems differ around the globe is essential to travellers. They should learn some facts about the laws before they engage in severe matters in unknown countries. Studying global law helps people to appreciate their legal systems and understand how much people’s attitudes and decisions differ.