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Tutorial Features of Common Law and Civil Law Systems

The extra-curricularĀ unit Features of Common Law and Civil Law Systems introduces you to a few of the basic features that characterize the common law and civil law (continental European) traditions. It begins by sketching the historical role of judges in developing English law and, by contrast, the phenomenon of the Reception of Roman law on the European continent. The Reception led to the enactment of grand continental codes unknown to the common law world.

After this historical introduction, the subject will highlight differences and similarities in the approaches to statutory interpretation, and to the use of judicial decisions. This overview will treat the common law doctrine of stare decisis and the methodology of using precedents, including the practice of distinguishing them. Finally, you will be introduced to similarities and differences in the training of lawyers, and in the roles of lawyers and judges in resolving disputes.