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Civil law vs common law

There are two primary divisions of law in the world: common law and civil law.

The Civil Law System, which is currently practiced by about 150 countries, is the more common of these two.

There are around 80 nations that adhere to common law.

However, the majority of nations that use common law adhere to a mixed law structure that incorporates some forms of civil law.

The key distinction between the two systems is that case law or publicly available judicial opinions are more significant in common law systems than codified statutes are in civil law systems.

The differences between these two legal systems, however, are not as obvious as they first appear.

Because of this, the majority of nations employ a hybrid legal system and alter it in response to shifting socioeconomic conditions.

Their origin and historical foundations can provide a crucial knowledge of various legal systems.

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In terms of definition, civil law vs common law

what is civil law?

Roman law served as the model for civil law.

The main characteristic of this law is that it was codified, not defined by judges, and that laws were developed collectively.

Justinian’s law served as the foundation for the principles and systems that make up civil law.

However, Germanic, ecclesiastical, feudal, and local practices, as well as ideological strands like natural law, codification, and legislative perspective, substantially overlap them.

Ordinarily, civil law deals with abstractions, develops guiding principles for broad concerns, and separates substantive laws from procedural regulations.

The court system typically enjoys the good fortune of not being constrained by precedents because civil law views legislation as the sole legitimate source of law.

It creates a number of specially trained court officers who are granted a little amount of authority to interpret the law.

Although occasionally regular volunteer judges are permitted to work alongside judges who have had legal training, separate juries from the judges are not always used.

what is common law?

Instead than making laws through legislative or executive action, judges use decisions made by courts and judicial organizations analogous to these courts to create common law, also known as case law.

The common law system is a body of legislation that upholds common law.

According to this tenet, it is unfair to treat various situations and instances in different ways at various times.

Future judgments are based on the “common law,” which is a corpus of precedent.

The common law court will use an earlier ruling from the appropriate court in certain situations if the parties disagree with the law that was made.

If a similar matter has been settled in the past, the court must apply the reasoning that was applied in the prior instance.

The court must establish a law if it determines that the disagreement is different from the one that was originally sought.

After that, the judgment rendered in this case is regarded as a precedent, and subsequent courts are required to abide by it.

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From a historical perspective, civil law vs common law

Due to the fact that both laws depend on a certain thing at specific times and locations geographically, there are various disparities on this topic.

Civil law

The origins of civil law can be found in the traditional Roman Law, particularly in Justinian Law (code of laws compiled by the Roman Emperor Justinian).

The Justinian Code offers Civil Law a sophisticated model with fully specified contracts, norms, procedures, etc.

In the centuries that follow, civil law is further developed with the help of other nations’ legal systems, including canon law, the Napoleonic Code, the German Civil Code, the Scandinavian Legal System, etc.


On the other hand, common law has its roots in the customs of the English kings’ courts.

Anglo-Saxon customs including the jury, the crime of outlawry, and written commands known as writs were all incorporated into common law.

All judgments and orders were compiled, made public, and preserved.

For attorneys and judges, it became simple to check up previous cases’ processes and orders and apply them to current ones.

A look at and analysis of UAE law 

The UAE system and law is one of the most flexible in the Arab region due to the mixed sources that were relied upon in the formation of this system. 

as it helps the growth and prosperity of the country in economic and cultural terms.

Source of Law in UAE

The United Arab Emirates’ court system is primarily a civil law jurisdiction. It has roots in Egyptian, French, and Roman law, but Sharia law is its main inspiration. The existence of Civil and Criminal courts, however, places restrictions on the Sharia courts. Sharia courts continue to operate in parallel in each of the seven emirates.

Another source is international law, which refers to the duties the UAE has agreed to under international treaties.

Mixed-System of Law

The rich cultural makeup of the nation’s expatriate community is reflected in the UAE’s judicial system.

Sharia and civil law coexist in the United Arab Emirates.

All pertinent legislation are included in the UAE’s civil law system, which has been codified and extensively modified to accommodate the shifting needs of both domestic and foreign commerce.

Dubai boasts the region’s most adaptable legislative framework, and it frequently implements cutting-edge changes to foster a prosperous business environment.

As a result, DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) has a distinctive regulatory and legal system based on global norms and common law principles.

The need for lawyers to close the gap

One of the most diverse legal systems in the world is used in the UAE.

The UAE has created the most solid and dynamic legislative framework to provide great comfort to foreign investors and businesses.

The mixed system promotes regional company growth within a controlled environment.

Maintaining continuity while practicing law within this structure is frequently difficult for attorneys.

The attorneys at Khairallah Advocates & Legal Consultants are qualified to represent you in DIFC as well as all other courts.

Our attorneys have a wealth of experience with disputes involving both common law and civil law systems.

Our knowledgeable legal counsel can handle cases in Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, RAK, Ajman, and other Emirates.

FAQ about ” Civil law vs common law”

1-Is UAE common law or civil law?

The United Arab Emirates adheres to a dual legal system that combines civil law and Sharia law.

Most recently, the system has been expanded to incorporate common law, which is used in Dubai International Financial Center Courts (DIFC).

The fundamental tenets of UAE law are derived mostly from Islamic Sharia (the system of law).

2-What is the difference between common law and civil?

The basic distinction between the two legal systems is that common law nations prioritize published judicial decisions as case law, whereas civil law systems prioritize codified legislation.

3-What is a civil law example?

Civil law deals with actions that cause harm to a person or another private entity, such a company. Defamation (including libel and slander), contract violations, carelessness that results in harm or death, and property destruction are a few examples.

4-What are some examples of common law?

What is a common law example? One example of common law in practice today is the idea of “common-law marriage,” which recognizes the same rights as those who have a marriage license to couples who are not legally married if certain circumstances are satisfied.

Seeking legal counsel from a reputable labor law firm like Khairallah Advocates & Legal Consultants, is always a prudent choice.

Get quick legal advice from the top Dubai law companies and competent representation from professionals.

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