In a country, laws, and regulations holds paramount importance as they not only regulate the behavior of its citizens but also structure a civilized society. A well systematic legal system is the backbone of a successful country, which gave ample opportunities to its citizens to flourish and put the foundation of a developed nation. All the countries have their own sets of rules and regulations, which are framed keeping in mind the needs and aspirations of their people. It is very important to understand the basic difference between Statutory law and common law.
But, if we look at a broader picture, there are mainly two types of law, which are followed by almost all the countries of the world namely, Statutory Law and Common Law. For a general understanding, the statutory law is based on written codified law, such as our constitution. On the other hand, the common law, which is largely followed in the United Kingdom, is judge-made law and the precedent is followed. In this article, we will explore the difference between common law and statutory law.
Table of Contents
Statutory Law Vs Common Law
Comparison table between Statutory Law and Common Law
|Basis of Comparison||Statutory Law||Common-Law|
|Meaning||Statutory law refers to that law that is framed by competent legislation in the form of a statute||Common law refers to the legal principles which have evolved through court decisions.|
|Other nomenclature||The statutory law is known as codified law or legislation||Common law is known as case law or judge-made law|
|Nature||The nature of statutory law is prescriptive.||Common law is instructive in nature.|
|Based on||The statutory law is based on statutes framed by the competent legislation||The common law is based on recorded judicial precedents.|
|Level of operation||The statutory law is substantive in nature||The common law is procedural in nature|
|Flexibility in amendment||The statutory law is rigid in nature and a time-consuming process needs to be followed for amendment.||The common law is flexible and can be amended easily|
What is statutory law?
In simple words, the term statutory law refers to written rules and regulations. It is also known as codified law. The statutory law is framed by competent legislation on particular subjects. For instance – In India, all the laws are mainly codified, which are framed by the state and central legislature. When a bill is passed in both the houses of the parliament and later on receives the assent of the president, it becomes a statutory law in the country.
As the term itself suggests, statutory law is based on written statutes dealing with various facets of law. It can be understood as the command of the sovereign to follow the law in letter and spirit. The non-compliance with statutory law results in severe punishments. The statutory law offers more stability and certainty as the complete jurisprudence on a subject can be found in a single place.
In statutory law, the existing laws can be amended or repealed keeping in mind the changing times or the needs of the society. With codification, the law can be easily accessed by the masses as there is a dedicated framework wherein all the laws are available. Further, in statutory law, the legal provisions are coherently and systematically arranged, making it easier to grasp and understand.
However, there are certain shortcomings that come along with statutory law. It is quite rigid in nature, which involves a very stringent and time-consuming process of amendment. The language used in statutory law used to be very complex, and numerous disputes arise relating to their interpretation. It is quite lengthy as well.
What is common law?
For a layman, common law can be understood as a branch of law that has evolved over the years through judicial precedents. Contrary to statutory law, it is an unwritten body of law wherein the past decisions of the court guide the decision-making process. The concept of common law is followed in various countries, such as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, etc. The main objective of common law is to ensure uniformity in decisions by applying the settled legal principles. This form of law is less prescriptive than civil law.
In a common law system, there are no written rules and regulations, and the precedent served as a sole determining factor. However, it is important to note that, the legal principle derived from judgment is only followed, which is known as ratio decidendi. The term ratio decidendi is a Latin word that means the reasoning of the court behind a decision. Apart from it, a judgment of a court also has obiter dicta which means the mere saying or observations of the court.
The common law is more flexible and progressive in nature as judicial precedents tend to evolve over a period of time according to the needs of society. There is also consistency in the decision-making process. In comparison to statutory law, the common law jurisprudence is more capable of handling unforeseen cases as the judges can apply their minds and decide the case accordingly. It is faster and more responsive to the changing social virtues. Further, the law-making through common law is free from political dependency and vested interest.
In spite of all these benefits, there are certain shortcomings also. The common law is merely reactive not proactive in nature. Further, this law can be easily overridden by another court decision. There is a lack of clarity and certainty which makes it less attractive.
The key difference between statutory law and common law
Some basic differences between Statutory law and common law
- Statutory law refers to that law that is framed by competent legislation in the form of a statute whereas common law refers to the legal principles which have been evolved through court decisions.
- The statutory law is knowns as codified law or legislation whereas the common law is known as case law.
- The nature of statutory law is prescriptive whereas the common law is instructive in nature.
- The statutory law is based on statutes framed by the competent legislation whereas the common law is based on recorded judicial precedents.
- The statutory law is substantive in nature whereas the common law is procedural in nature.
- The statutory law is rigid in nature and a time-consuming process needs to be followed for amendment whereas the common law is flexible and can be amended easily.
The statutory law involves all those written rules and regulations which are framed by competent legislation. It is prescriptive in nature and deals with the substantive rights of the person. It is more certain but rigid in nature. On the other hand, common law refers to the legal principles which have been derived from judicial precedents. It is also known as judge-made law. It is instructive in nature. It is more flexible and can be easily amended keeping in mind the changing needs and aspirations of the society.
This is all about the difference between Statutory Law and common law. We hope you understand the concept of Statutory lay and Common law very well. to read such kind of interesting difference visit our website.
the term statutory law refers to written rules and regulations. It is also known as codified law. The statutory law is framed by competent legislation on particular subjects.
common law can be understood as a branch of law that has evolved over the years through judicial precedents. Contrary to statutory law, it is an unwritten body of law wherein the past decisions of the court guide the decision-making process.
Difference between statutory law and common law
Statutory law refers to that law that is framed by competent legislation in the form of a statute whereas common law refers to the legal principles which have been evolved through court decisions.
The statutory law is knowns as codified law or legislation whereas the common law is known as case law