Four Main Sources Of English Law
English law refers to the legal system that England and Wales, Ireland and Commonwealth countries including the United States apart from Louisiana utilize. The law dates its origin from 1925 during the era of Anglo-Saxons customs and the British Empire, who developed and spread it to their former colonies. The sources of the English law are of utmost importance as they are the foundation of legal systems of various countries. In the attempt to understand the English Laws, its sources are of vital significance to discuss.
The first source is Common law, a key component of English law. Its foundation is on decisions made by judges of various courts and developed by tribunals and courts. The law operates under the cardinal rule that treating similar situations differently is absurd. Thus, judges in their capacities, make judgments that become a legal precedent for future cases with similar circumstances as a sign of equivalence in all jurisdictions. Judges reach at this decision by relying on previous cases, precedents set by other judges, their knowledge, and common sense. Since judges are considered elite and bright members of the society, the law enjoys significant confidence. Nevertheless, not all court decisions are binding on other courts as courts such as the Supreme Court have more authority than other courts.
Statutory law is the principal source of English law. It comes into existence through Parliament, enjoying the sovereignty to make or unmake any laws they deem necessary, and that pushes the political plans of the government. It does so through primary legislation known as the ACTS of Parliament or secondary legislation, which supersedes the authority of the judiciary. Parliament makes a law by first engaging in a debate, a vote of majority members decides the statutes that the government then observes as the law. For instance, the review of legislation of punishment is under the statutory law. Murder under the common law attracted a penalty of death. However, Parliament instituted an amendment that reduced the punishment to life in prison with exceptional circumstances when aspects such as motive, malice and the psychological state of the accused are established.
The European Union Law is another key source of English Law, which denotes to treaties and legislation applied to European countries. The law comprises of regulations, treaties, and directives of significant importance presently and in the future, concluded by the European Union, which has an implication directly or indirectly to the European Union and its member countries. The treaties provide for directives on the governing of European nations, advice on the operation of legal systems towards metropolitan states and forms the EU legislature. Moreover, it permits the adoption of legal acts that perpetuate the meeting of objectives. Member countries of the EU are anticipated to obey these laws that serve as secondary EU laws.
The European Convention is the fourth source of English Law. Before 2000, the public outlook of the Convention was an outside influence of the law whose authority was persuasive. However, the Human Rights Act of 1998 changed all these by stating that any court or tribunal that heard a matter that relates to the Convention, it has to follow the Convention’s decision on the handling of the issue. The Convention principally deals with two conventions namely; Conventions of child abduction that seeks to stop the international abduction of children and the European convention on Human Rights that protects the rights of individuals residing in Europe.
The sources of English law makes it an all-inclusive, multipart and the most efficient system in the world. It works harmoniously with other legal systems of the world, thereby making it crucial and noteworthy worldwide.