Does Common Law apply to me?



Common Law was a system of law developed in England and spread to the areas colonized or occupied by the English. It differs from Roman Law, the other common system in the West on a few key points. The most important law is common law is often based on tradition, while Roman law was often codified. A person living in any country where Common Law is the basis for the system will have common law apply to them. Certain points of English law apply to many places where Common Law is used, not all of the countries based on this legal system use the same laws.




Why Does a Difference Exist?

The judicial system used in Canada, Great Britain, the United States and Australia uses precedents set in previous legal cases to determine what a ruling should be in other cases. If a case originally occurred in England before a country became independent, the country will follow British law. If a case occurred in after a country gained independence, the precedent used will be the one set by that country. The discrepancy means that common law is not always applied the same way in different countries.


How Can I Find Out About the Applicable Laws?

When a person has a legal question, he needs to know what the applicable laws are. If it is a serious legal matter such as a criminal hearing, he should seek the services of an attorney. The United States constitution requires that defendants have legal counsel. Court-appointed defense attorneys often get paid less than their privately paid counterparts, but the job is just as demanding. Private and public attorneys must both have a law degree to practice their trade. If it is a simple issue, a citizen can look up the relevant laws on the Internet or at his local city hall.



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