History of Civil and Common Law and Its Impact on Globalization


In some locations, common law makes it quite easy for foreign nationals to learn and practise law. As a foreigner, finding legal power in other countries such as China or India is practically impossible. There are four legal systems in existence now all across the world. Civil law, also known as code law, common law, bijurdical/mixed (civil and common law), and Islamic law are the four types of legal systems. The two most common legal systems today are common law and civil law. Both were developed in Europe about the same time by different imperial empires. Both legal systems play a critical role in how countries and corporations interact on a global level. International commercial arbitrations are influenced by both legal systems. Both legal systems play a critical role in how countries and corporations interact on a global level. International commercial arbitrations are influenced by both legal systems.

The British invented common law during the Middle Ages and spread it throughout the colonies they conquered. The United States is an example of this. Because merchants were able to grab a bigger share of England’s wealth, Common Law evolved to safeguard the rights of feudal land owners. It eventually evolved to protect capital and the ability to accumulate it. To attain proper justice, a court of equity (chancery court) is used, which is empowered to apply equity principles.

The majority of common law is uncodified, which means there is no complete collection of legal rules and some statutes. However, common law is usually founded on precedent, which means that cases are based on previous judicial decisions in similar instances. The precedents are documented in yearbooks or reports, which are collections of documentation. The cases are resolved by a jury, while the sentence is decided by a judge.

In order to acquire economic and political power, civil law was formed in Spain and Portugal and later recognised by countries such as Japan and Russia. Civil law has a long history that stems from Roman law and canon law, both of which were influenced by Catholic church law.

In contrast to common law, which is largely uncodified, civil law is more codified. It contains a collection of updated legal codes that they utilise to establish what kind of cases can be brought to court. Depending on whatever legal code is implicated, the punishment is already set before the case is brought to court.


In a civil law matter, the judge’s job is to figure out what the facts are and then make a decision based on the codes.

Civil law and common law are beginning to converge in international business arbitrations, despite their differences in many systems around the world. Civil law practitioners claim that common law is the more dominant type due to the blending of styles. In international business arbitrations, however, efforts have been made to accommodate civil law values. The International Bar Association Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Commercial Arbitration and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Arbitration Rules are two examples.

Varying countries have different requirements for what foreign lawyers can accomplish in their respective jurisdictions. In America, for example, anyone from anywhere in the globe can join our judicial system. Individuals must pass the New York bar exam and spend a year pursuing a master’s degree in law at any American university. However, if you are a foreign company in China or Brazil, getting anything done is much more difficult. Foreigners may provide international law advice, but they are unable to provide any form of legal representation in local courts in those nations, making it extremely difficult for foreign companies to operate.

The lone exception is Hong Kong, which has allowed foreigners to take the local bar exam and provide legal services. Furthermore, if a Chinese lawyer accepts a job with a foreign firm, they must temporarily relinquish their privilege to practise Chinese law. Then there are countries like India, which are closed to all foreign lawyers of any kind, in any position, and do not even allow international legal advice. The offices that some outsiders have opened there have been declared illegal by the Bombay High Court of India. The Indian government has stated that it intends to appeal the offices’ decision, but this appears to be quite improbable.

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