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Civil Law Vs. Common Law

Civil Law Vs. Common Law

Common laws are those laws which are based on precedent. Civil laws are those laws which apply to civil actions or charges that someone has had their civil rights violated.

For example, common law marriage is a law that allows couples to be considered married after living together for a certain number of years. While this is not the common law in many jurisdictions, it does exist in some states.

Here’s useful information about the common law in different states:

Alabama Common Law Marriage

Alaska Common Law Marriage

Arizona Common Law Marriage

Arkansas Common Law Marriage

California Common Law Marriage

Colorado Common Law Marriage

Connecticut Common Law Marriage

Delaware Common Law Marriage

Florida Common Law Marriage

Georgia Common Law Marriage

Hawaii Common Law Marriage

Idaho Common Law Marriage

Illinois Common Law Marriage

Indiana Common Law Marriage

Iowa Common Law Marriage

Kansas Common Law Marriage

Kentucky Common Law Marriage

Louisiana Common Law Marriage

Maine Common Law Marriage

Maryland Common Law Marriage

Massachusetts Common Law Marriage

Michigan Common Law Marriage

Minnesota Common Law Marriage

Mississippi Common Law Marriage

Missouri Common Law Marriage

Montana Common Law Marriage

Nebraska Common Law Marriage

Nevada Common Law Marriage

New Hampshire Common Law Marriage

New Jersey Common Law Marriage

New Mexico Common Law Marriage

New York Common Law Marriage

North Carolina Common Law Marriage

North Dakota Common Law Marriage

Ohio Common Law Marriage

Oklahoma Common Law Marriage

Oregon Common Law Marriage

Pennsylvania Common Law Marriage

Rhode Island Common Law Marriage

South Carolina Common Law Marriage

South Dakota Common Law Marriage

Tennessee Common Law Marriage

Texas Common Law Marriage

Utah Common Law Marriage

Vermont Common Law Marriage

Virginia Common Law Marriage

Washington Common Law Marriage

West Virginia Common Law Marriage

Wisconsin Common Law Marriage

Wyoming Common Law Marriage

Some states have adopted domestic partnership laws, while others have not. In fact, there are about ten states that currently legally recognize domestic partnerships. In fact, laws change quickly and the number of states that legally recognize same-sex relationships in any form fluctuates.

Currently, domestic partnerships, in the title, are seen as outdated by some members of the LGBT community. In fact, many are pushing for a legally defined, same-sex marriage so that couples are assured of receiving equal rights in regard to the legality of their relationship.

In the late seventies, a man in California lost his partner and requested to be paid for bereavement time. His employer refused to pay him and the courts agreed.

The decision was made because they had no proof as to the validity of the relationship. The case was the first to use the term, domestic partnership and the first to decide against a domestic partnership law.

Later, in California, Berkeley students defined the term and pushed for a domestic partnership law that would legally recognize same-sex relationships in the city.

The City council voted on the proposition and those that voted against it later failed to win reelection. The City Council did not adopt a domestic partnership law.

In fact, the   Berkeley school board may have been the first to approve a domestic partnership law that would recognize same-sex relationships. However, the Berkeley city council eventually passed its own domestic partnership law and a registry was created in 1991.

The acceptance of domestic partnership laws began to become a nationwide issue. Cities throughout California began to pass their own domestic partnership laws. Eventually, California passed   statewide domestic partnerships laws and became the first state to do so.

Six years later, California began to extend more rights to domestic partners and it was the first state to do so without intervention from the courts. In the interim, other states began to adopt domestic partnership laws. Each state offers unique benefits to couples that are in a legally recognized domestic partnership.

Domestic partnership laws are currently in effect in about 1/5 of states in the Country. However, each state’s laws vary greatly as far as which rights and responsibilities couples are entitled to. In some cases, couples are entitled to shared health benefits, and other times they are not.

In addition, some states view domestic partnerships as an alternative to opposite-sex marriage, which grants couples all of the same rights and responsibilities. While domestic partnerships were the first step to ensuring equal rights for the LGBT community, many same-sex couples are now striving to have their relationship defined as a legally recognized marriage.

Common laws are those which are based on precedent, rather than actual statutes. In common-law marriages, for example, the couple has lived as husband and wife and is therefore considered to be, even though they have not legally been married.

Civil laws are those laws that protect civil rights. For example, some couples claim that the inability of same-sex couples to marry is a violation of their civil rights. In some jurisdictions, same-sex couples may be involved in a common-law marriage, but this is still a violation of their civil rights when they wish to be legally married.

Civil Law vs. Common Law: An Overview of Two Legal Systems

The legal system of every country is unique, and these systems can be divided into two categories; civil law, and common law. Many countries have either a civil law or common law system, and in some countries, there is a mixture of these systems. In this article, we will provide an overview of civil law and common law legal systems, their differences, and their impact on legal proceedings.

What is Civil Law?

Civil law is a legal system that originated from ancient Rome. This system is codified, meaning that it is based on written laws and regulations. Civil law systems are based on a series of laws and rules created by the legislature, administrative bodies, and judges. Judges in civil law systems make decisions based on these laws and statutes.

Civil law systems are based on the principle of ‘inquisitorial justice,’ meaning that judges have a more active role in the legal process. Judges conduct investigations and interrogate witnesses to determine the facts of the case before making a decision.

What is Common Law?

Common law is a legal system that originated in England and has been adopted by many countries such as the United States. Common law is based on court decisions rather than written laws. In this system, judges use precedent – previous judgments – to interpret the law and decide cases.

Common law judges follow the principle of ‘adversarial justice’ and act as referees between two parties, such as a plaintiff and defendant in a civil case. Common law judges do not conduct investigations or interrogate witnesses but rely on lawyers to present facts, evidence, and arguments to support their client’s position.

Key Differences between Civil Law and Common Law

Civil law and common law systems have some significant differences:

1. Sources of Law – Civil law is based on written laws and regulations created by the legislature, while common law is developed through court decisions.

2. Role of Judges – In civil law, judges have an active role in investigations and interrogations, while in common law, judges act as referees and rely on lawyers to present evidence.

3. Precedent – Common law systems rely on precedent and stare decisis (the principle of following previous court decisions), while civil law systems do not.

4. Flexibility – Common law systems are flexible and can adapt quickly to changes in society, while civil law systems are often slow to change.

5. Juries – Common law systems use juries in criminal trials and civil trials, while civil law systems do not use juries.

Which System is Better?

The question of which system is better is debatable and ultimately depends on personal preference and the context of the case. Civil law systems are often used in continental European countries and have a reputation for being slow and bureaucratic, while common law systems, such as those used in the United States, are considered more flexible and adaptable.


Civil law and common law systems are two different legal systems that exist in various countries around the world. The key differences between these systems are the sources of law, the role of judges, precedent, flexibility, and the use of juries. Understanding these differences is essential for individuals involved in legal proceedings to navigate the legal system. A good lawyer can help you understand the legal system and provide advice on how to handle your legal concerns.