Last updated: February 14, 2019
Topic: LawGovernment
Sample donated:

Legal Systems

Civil law is the area of law which governs and controls relations between individuals. Actually, civil law is non-criminal regulation of actions of individuals and corporations in society. Criminal law aims at dealing with criminal offenses and legal punishments. Criminal law is the body of common law thus opposing civil law. Civil law is a part of private law, whereas criminal law belongs to public one. Civil law is concerned with duties and rights of individuals, whereas criminal law is interested in criminal offenses and procedures.

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Substantive law governs and controls the obligations, duties and rights of those people who are subjected to it. Actually, substantive law establishes legal relations between people and state. Procedural law aims at revealing what happens in criminal and civil procedures. Procedural rules ensure consistent application of fundamental justice to all cases in the court. In contrast to procedural law, substantive laws aims at defining duties and rights, whereas procedural laws provides means for enforcing those duties and rights.

Common law is a major part of the legal systems in many countries. Actually, common law is non-statutory law which reflects precedents “derived from centuries of judgments by working jurists”. Statutory law is set down by legislature and other authority bodies in order to clarify the functioning of the government, to respond to public needs, to improve performance of civil order and to codify existing law. Statutory law in contrast to common law suggests improvements and implications, whereas common law aims at promulgating a particular proposition of law.

Private law is a part of legal system paying attention to relations between individuals. Public law deals with relations between individuals and state. Therefore, the difference is that public law deals with relations between artificial and natural persons such as non-profit organization, business entities and individuals, and state regulations such as penal law or statutes. Private law suggests relations between individuals without interventions of the state.


Rene, D. & Brierley, J. (1985). Major Legal Systems in the World Today: An Introduction to the Comparative Study of Law. London: Stevens & Co.