Question one: Does your study in this course support the usefulness of civic/common law distinctions, or have most legal systems we considered now moved past those categories? To what extent are the systems converging?
Comparative law reveals diverse scenarios whereby similar legal terms are used to refer to different meanings and different legal terms having similar effects in law. The different usage of legal terms in diverse situations to connote varied meanings often may result into extreme confusion especially among civil and common law lawyers. This particularly occurs when common law lawyers are involved in civil law cases and vice versa. Several issues are actually dealt with in similar ways in both common and civil law processes. Nevertheless, a significant number of other issues have maintained distinctions especially in terms of classification, legal structure, terminology and fundamental concepts. Indeed, different aspects of civil and common law have had varied meanings.
Numerous aspects of civil and common law have been found to exhibit varied meanings in spite of the fact that they use similar legal terms. In this course, the consideration of the origin of civil law has been applied in bringing out the meaning of the distinctions in meanings of various terms also used in common law. Having originated from Roman law, civil law later developed in Continental Europe as well as many other parts of the world. Civil law is often contained in civil codes described as authoritative, guiding and systematic statute that covers broad issues and breathing the reform spirit as well as marking the national new start. The nineteenth and twentieth Centuries saw a massive adoption of civil codes in many parts of the world such as the Australian Burgerliches Gesetzbush of 1811, French Code Civil of 1804, German Burgerliches Gesetzbuch of 1896, Italian Codice Civile of 1942 as well as Japanese Minpo of 1896 and Swiss Zivilgesetzbuch of 1907.
There is a large classification of civil law as well as massive structuring with numerous principles and rules with no clear details. Indeed, civil law has a major basic characteristic in the sense that the courts are often charged with the responsibility of interpreting and applying the law in civil codes. Similarly, the courts are mandated to apply existing statute on case laws. It is therefore assumed that the codes are relevant in the regulation of the cases occurring in practical contexts. Consequently, in circumstances where the codes regulating certain cases are lacking, the courts are expected to rule out based on application of the general principles of civil codes.
On the other hand, common law is said to have evolved from England at about 11th century. It was later adopted in Canada, Australia, USA, and New Zealand alongside many other countries falling under the Commonwealth. There is an outstanding distinction between common and civil law in that civil law is based on codes. On the contrary, common law is based on legislations often brought about through case law. Indeed, judicial decisions made by the high court on certain important cases play a major role in the determination of present rulings in common law. Therefore, courts regard past rulings as very important in determining the present rulings on certain related cases. The decisions made by past courts are often binding and no possible modifications are made on the prevailing rulings.
It is often claimed that common law is made purely from case law. However, this is a half truth as common law is based on other important backgrounds. It is however true that common law depends to a large extent on past statutes and judges are required to apply such statutes in interpreting cases just as judges involved in civil law cases. Comparison between common law and civil law reveals a foundation on two varying fundamental approaches to the legal issues. For instance, civil law contains statutes and codes to be applied by courts. It is therefore a common occurrence for statutes and codes to prevail over case laws in civil law. On the contrary,   common law regards case laws as more important than codes and statutes. There is often a lack of judicial structure to offer appropriate guidance in common law. Therefore, the role of the legislator is often viewed in two distinct dimensions in civil and common law.
Contemporary discipline in comparative law has mainly focused on comparison of legal systems in an actual manner. This has mainly been undertaken through diverse aspects such as evaluation, discovery and explanation of differences and similarities. Similarly, the study of comparative law has often delved into influence of civil and common legal systems. In particular, this has sought to identify the manner in which the law is received as well as the extent to which the legal systems affect individual and entire legal systems. The focus on   Europe mainly highlights on certain important aspects of the law such as how European private law has had influenced numerous legal systems and also been influenced by the same legal systems such as Roman law, law from non-European states as well as laws originating from individual member states. It is also important to consider the manner in which European law has transmitted into other legal systems.
Convergence of various legal systems is therefore demonstrated through this study as an important component of comparative law. Similarly, it is evident through the comparative law study that civil and common law has had massive influence on various legal systems of non-European background. Indeed, comparative law has widely functioned based on an attempt to bring about an understanding of diverse legal systems to the full. Similarly, there is a focus on the relationship among different legal systems. The understanding of this relationship is particularly based on the desire to uphold the existing distinctions. Indeed, the theme of comparative law in respective contexts gained immense popularity in the 20th century. Surprisingly, it is creeping   back again in the past few years.
There are diverse purposes being ascribed to comparative law. For instance, comparative law has been regarded as highly important in informing national processes of lawmaking, provision of legal harmonization and unification basis, assisting in the resolution of difficult legal questions. Generally, legal science needs to fulfill the various aspects. It is therefore evident that comparative law plays an important role as a legal science providing important comparative components. Based on cultural comparison of diverse legal systems, an understanding of legal systems on the basis of development and expression of general culture has been highlighted. Therefore, the mentality of a legal system has been highly considered although not fully evident by outsiders but experienced by legal system participants. In a nutshell, there has been a convergence of legal systems to the extent that minimal discrepancies exist in reality despite the intense debate. The convergence of legal systems has particularly focused on functional equivalence with an aim of facilitating functional comparison to identify similarities in simultaneous solutions. Indeed, the recent past has seen a massive application of the approach on functional equivalence and legal culture in the development of a legal paradigm.
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