What Is The Difference Between Common Law And Roman Law?


1 Answers

Steve Theunissen Profile
The laws of most countries are based on one of two great systems of law, Roman law or common law. However, we must beware of a possible confusion resulting from different applications of the same term. For instance, in countries where Roman law is followed, they do not call it "Roman law" but rather "civil law." On the other hand, in lands where the common law is practiced the term "civil law" is used to contrast with "criminal law." So, let us keep to the terms "Roman law" and "common law" in order to avoid any misunderstanding.
Roman law is much older than common law. The first codification of Roman law consisted of twelve tablets posted in the Roman Forum at the insistence of the unprivileged in about 450 B.C.E. It remained in force for many centuries. Then, in the sixth century C.E., Emperor Justinian sought further clarification and compilation of Roman law. During the so-called "Renaissance" Roman law gained much additional prestige. Then in 1804 further codification was undertaken in France.
As to common law, it might be said that it began with the Magna Carta in the thirteenth century C.E. King Edward I of England was to common law what Justinian was to Roman law. An outstanding point in the development of common law came with the publication of Commentaries on the Laws of England in the eighteenth century by the distinguished jurist, William Blackstone.

Answer Question