Test yourself

Fill in the gaps in the text with the following words:
source; ratified; judgments; codified; regulations; statutes; higher; common; legal; Roman; precedents; lower;

Below we will try to explain the difference between the two most predominant legal systems of the world: civil law and common law.

Legal systems of the world

From the map above you will see that the most widespread (1 p.) system in the world is civil law also known as European Continental Law. It originated from (1 p.) Law and more specifically from the Corpus Juris Civilis issued by the Emperor Justinian ca. 529AD. Civil law is (1 p.) . The most influential codes in history were the Napoleonic Code of 1804, the German civil code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) of 1900 and the Swiss codes.

Civil law is most often contrasted with (1 p.) law which dominates mostly in Anglophone countries. Common law originated before there were any written laws and was developed by custom. In the common law tradition, case law interprets laws, via (1 p.) , based on how prior cases have been decided. Precedents create a rule which courts and judges later follow when making decisions. Common law systems follow the doctrine of stare decisis, i.e. "to stand by things decided"— according to which (1 p.) courts usually make decisions consistent with previous decisions of (1 p.) courts. If a lower court judge acts against precedent and the case is not appealed, the lower court decision will stand.

In civil law countries legislation is seen as the primary (1 p.) of law. Judges in courts give their (1 p.) on the basis of codes and (1 p.) . By contrast in common law system cases are the primary source of law.

The Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791 is claimed to be Europe's first modern codified national constitution (1 p.) less than four years after the United States Constitution was adopted on September 17 1787.

Article 87 of the Polish Constitution of 1997 sets forth that “the sources of universally binding law of the Republic of Poland shall be: the Constitution, statutes, ratified international agreements, and (1 p.) ”.

Glossary (English - Polish)

civil law – prawo cywilne
common law – prawo zwyczajowe
legal system – system prawny
to codify – kodyfikować
Anglophone country – kraj anglojęzyczny
precedens – precedens
lower court – sąd niższej instancji
higher court – sąd wyższej instancji
to appeal – złożyć apelację
a decision stands – wyrok obowiązuje
a code – kodeks
a statute – ustawa
primary source of law – podstawowe źródło prawa
to ratify – ratyfikować
to adopt – przyjąć
ratified international agreement – ratyfikowana umowa międzynarodowa
regulation - rozporządzenie