UNC School of Law The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

As one legal historian wrote, “Justinian consciously looked back to the golden age of Roman law and aimed to restore it to the peak it had reached three centuries before.” The Justinian Code remained in force in the East until the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Western Europe, meanwhile, relied on a mix of the Theodosian Code and Germanic customary law until the Justinian Code was rediscovered in the 11th century, and scholars at the University of Bologna used it to interpret their own laws. Both these codes influenced heavily not only the law systems of the countries in continental Europe (e.g. Greece), but also the Japanese and Korean legal traditions. Today, countries that have civil law systems range from Russia and Turkey to most of Central and Latin America. Ancient India and China represent distinct traditions of law, and have historically had independent schools of legal theory and practice.

  • One-year master’s degree programs and a doctoral degree for international graduate students who have earned a law degree outside the United States.
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  • During the Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent, sharia was established by the Muslim sultanates and empires, most notably Mughal Empire’s Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, compiled by emperor Aurangzeb and various scholars of Islam.
  • Decisions were not published in any systematic way, so any case law that developed was disguised and almost unrecognised.
  • Japan was the first country to begin modernising its legal system along western lines, by importing parts of the French, but mostly the German Civil Code.

This “great charter” or Magna Carta of 1215 also required that the King’s entourage of judges hold their courts and judgments at “a certain place” rather than dispensing autocratic justice in unpredictable places about the country. A concentrated and elite group of judges acquired a dominant role in law-making under this system, and compared to its European counterparts the English judiciary became highly centralised. In 1297, for instance, while the highest court in France had fifty-one judges, the English Court of Common Pleas had five. This powerful and tight-knit judiciary gave rise to a systematised process of developing common law. Colour-coded map of the legal systems around the world, showing civil, common law, religious, customary and mixed legal systems.

Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong also adopted the common law system. The eastern Asia legal tradition reflects a unique blend of secular and religious influences. Japan was the first country to begin modernising its legal system along western lines, by importing parts of the French, but mostly the German Civil Code. This partly reflected Germany’s status as a rising power in the late 19th century. Similarly, traditional Chinese law gave way to westernisation towards the final years of the Qing Dynasty in the form of six private law codes based mainly on the Japanese model of German law. Today Taiwanese law retains the closest affinity to the codifications from that period, because of the split between Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists, who fled there, and Mao Zedong’s communists who won control of the mainland in 1949.

Law practice also involves drafting documents such as court pleadings, persuasive briefs, contracts, or wills and trusts. Negotiation and dispute resolution skills are also important to legal practice, depending on the field. Cynicism over “officialdom” is still common, and the workings of public servants is typically contrasted to private enterprise motivated by profit. In fact private companies, especially large ones, also have bureaucracies.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg allows citizens of the Council of Europe member states to bring cases relating to human rights issues before it. There are distinguished methods of legal reasoning and methods of interpreting the Law. The former are legal syllogism, which holds sway in civil law legal systems, analogy, which is present in common law legal systems, especially in the US, and argumentative theories that occur in both systems. The latter are different rules of legal interpretation such as directives of linguistic interpretation, teleological interpretation or systemic interpretation as well as more specific rules, for instance, golden rule or mischief rule. There are also many other arguments and cannons of interpretation which altogether make statutory interpretation possible. Common law originated from England and has been inherited by almost every country once tied to the British Empire (except Malta, Scotland, the U.S. state of Louisiana, and the Canadian province of Quebec).

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A hub of commerce and government, the city provides an ideal setting for the study of law. Students benefit from access to law firms, the courts, large corporations, government agencies and local non-profits. Especially since privatisation became popular and took management of services away from public law, private companies doing the jobs previously controlled by government have been bound by varying degrees of social responsibility. Energy, gas, telecomms and water are regulated industries in most OECD countries. As the European Court of Human Rights has stated, the law should be adequately accessible to everyone and people should be able to foresee how the law affects them. Home to cutting-edge scholars and a rich mix of courses, clinical opportunities and extracurricular engagements, UCLA Law allows students to dive deep on areas ranging from constitutional law to critical race studies, and from corporate law to public interest law and policy.

The institutions of social construction, social norms, dispute processing and legal culture are key areas for inquiry in this knowledge field. In the United States the field is usually called law and society studies; in Europe it is more often referred to as socio-legal studies. At first, jurists and legal philosophers were suspicious of sociology of law. The main institutions of law in industrialised countries are independent courts, representative parliaments, an accountable executive, the military and police, bureaucratic organisation, the legal profession and civil society itself. John Locke, in his Two Treatises of Government, and Baron de Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws, advocated for a separation of powers between the political, legislature and executive bodies.

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Texas Law students become rigorous analytical thinkers and world-changing professionals. They learn from scholars of national and international stature in the classroom, and are trained by brilliant and dedicated lawyers in the finest set of clinical programs in the country. Come see why we are ranked #1 for return on investment among the top 15 law schools. Emory Law offers students unique learning experiences and opportunities beyond the traditional law school education that prepare them for a successful legal career. Students begin their legal education with a range of foundational courses and can then further tailor their coursework around areas of impact.