Unit 3 Legal Systems
Text I Introduction to Legal Systems
-To learn about the 4 major types of legal
systems in the world
Text II Introduction to the Legal System of Canada
-To learn the legal system of Canada
Text III Case Reading
-To read a case concerning the liability of
Internet Service Providers
Text I Introduction to Legal Systems
Romano-Germanic / civil / continental legal system,
Common law / Anglo-American legal system,
Socialist legal system,
Islamic legal system,
code, judge-made law, enacted / statutory law, collective
ownership, state ownership
Proper names:
Code of Justinian, Napoleonic codes, Norman Conquest,
Bolshevik Revolution
Text I Introduction to Legal Systems
 Ⅰ. (para. 1) Introduction: 4 types of legal
systems & their distribution
 Ⅱ. (para. 2-7) 4 types of legal systems
1. (para. 2-3) Romano-Germanic / civil / continental
legal system
2. (para. 4) common-law / Anglo-American legal
3. (para. 5-6) socialist legal system
4. (para. 7) Islamic legal system
Questions based on part I
What are the 4 major legal systems in the
How are they distributed in the world and
which countries are the representatives in
each legal system?
Representatives of the 4 legal systems
Romano-Germanic / civil / continental legal system:
France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy,
Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Turkey, Indonesia, Holland
(the Netherlands)
2. Common-law / Anglo-American legal system: England,
Ireland, USA, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore,
Malaysia, Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec),
Burma, India
Socialist legal system: China, Cuba, North Korea,
4. Islamic legal system: Middle East countries: Egypt,
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq,…
Questions based on part II
What are the sources of law in each legal
What are the 3 objectives of classical
socialist law?
What is the central notion of socialist law?
Sources of law in each system
1. Romano-Germanic / civil / continental legal system
—major source: Codes: Roman civil law (Code of Justinain);
Napoleonoic codes
---customary law
2. common-law / Anglo-American legal system
—major source: judge-made law / case law
3. socialist legal system
—major source: legislation
4. Islamic legal system
—major sources: Koran, Sunna, judicial consensus,
analogical reasoning
—subsidiary sources: custom, judge’s preference,
requirements of public interest
Language points
Provide for
1 If you provide for someone, you support them financially and make
sure that they have the things that they need. 提供生活费; 养活
Everyone will be provided for according to his needs.
Her father always ensured she was well provided for.
Elaine wouldn't let him provide for her.
2 If you provide for something that might happen or that might need to
be done, you make arrangements to deal with it. 为...作准备, 防备
Law must provide for national security.
James had provided for just such an emergency.
3 If a law or agreement provides for something, it makes it possible.
Analogical reasoning is used in circumstances not provided for in the
The bill also provides for the automatic review by the appeal court of all
death sentences.
Legal systems (from Encyclopaedia
civil law
also called Romano-Germanic law, the law of continental
Europe, based on an admixture of Roman, Germanic,
ecclesiastical, feudal, commercial, and customary law.
European civil law has been adopted in much of Latin
America as well as in parts of Asia and Africa and is to be
distinguished from the common law of the Anglo-American
The term civil law has also been used to distinguish private
law, governing the relations among individuals, from public
law and criminal law. Finally, the national law of a country
is sometimes called civil law, in contrast to international law.
common law
 also called Anglo-American law, the body of
customary law, based upon judicial decisions and
embodied in reports of decided cases, which has
been administered by the common-law courts of
England since the Middle Ages. From this has
evolved the type of legal system now found also in
the United States and in most of the member
states of the Commonwealth of Nations. Common
law stands in contrast to rules developed by the
separate acts of equity, to statute law (i.e., the acts
of legislative bodies), and to the legal system
derived from civil law now widespread in
continental Europe and elsewhere.
Soviet law
 also called Socialist law law developed in Russia
after the communist seizure of power in 1917 and
imposed throughout the Soviet Union in the 1920s.
After World War II, the Soviet legal model also was
imposed on Soviet-dominated regimes in eastern
and central Europe. Later, ruling communist
parties in China, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam
adopted variations of Soviet law. Soviet law, which
changed radically during its more than 70 years of
development in the Soviet Union, revived certain
features of earlier tsarist law, shared key elements
with the law of other dictatorships, and introduced
public ownership of the means of production and
subordination of the legal system to the Soviet
Communist Party.
the fundamental religious concept of Islām, namely its law,
systematized during the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the
Muslim era (8th–9th centuries AD).
Total and unqualified submission to the will of Allāh (God)
is the fundamental tenet of Islām: Islāmic law is therefore
the expression of Allāh's command for Muslim society and,
in application, constitutes a system of duties that are
incumbent upon a Muslim by virtue of his religious belief.
Known as the Sharī’ah (literally, “the path leading to the
watering place”), the law constitutes a divinely ordained
path of conduct that guides the Muslim toward a practical
expression of his religious conviction in this world and the
goal of divine favour in the world to come.
Chinese law
the law that evolved in China over millennia from
earliest times, virtually uninfluenced by foreign
jurisprudence until the 20th century, when
Western—especially, Western socialist—law was
 The Chinese legal system incorporated elements
of contradictory social philosophies of very early
China—principally Confucianism and Legalism (or
Fa-chia). Both arose as responses to the disorder
of the Warring States period (5th to 3rd century
BC), the former emphasizing traditional moral
teaching (li), the latter advocating the introduction
of legally stipulated punishments and rewards (fa).
The Confucian ideology contained the idea of
social harmony based on ordered relationships
and a hierarchy of classes and persons. According
to Confucianism, it was the duty of rulers and
superiors to educate their subjects or subordinates
in benevolent and righteous conduct that would be
appropriate to particular personal relations and
concrete situations and that would be expressed in
proper etiquette and reinforced by rituals.
Punishment might serve as a deterrent but would
generally be reserved for those persons hard to
educate or too obtuse to behave properly. Abstract
concepts and generalizations were uncongenial to
Confucianists; hence also was the idea of law.
The Legalist, or Fa-chia, school advocated
uniform objective standards that would be
published for all to know and that would not
require special gifts of character to understand or
to apply; most important, these standards would
be enforced by a system of defined rewards and
punishments. Such standards or laws would serve
the ruler as an instrument of control over his
subjects. Whereas Confucianists saw punishment
only as an extension of education, the Legalists
opposed any cult of benevolence as softening and
corrupting. Over the centuries, this opposition
between conflicting principles continued.
B. Partial translation
 1. on the basis of
 2. in the form of
 3. brought about
 4. as well as
 5. coexisted with
 1. 民法法系作为一个自成一家的法律体系,在欧洲
 2. 普通法系,包括几种特有的法律传统,被认为是
 3. 当然,东欧和前苏联传统上被看作社会主义法律
4. Generally speaking, the legal system in new
China develops by imitating that of the former
Soviet Union and is therefore a socialist one.
However, if we look into history we can still find
traces of the Roman tradition.
 5. In China, court verdict, including that of the
Supreme People's Court, has no binding power
over the later verdict of other courts. Judges
usually make their verdict based on promulgated
Alternative translation
1. 作为一种独立存在的法源体系,大陆法是受欧洲
 2.普通法法系是由一些特有的法律惯例组成的,被
 3.东欧与前苏联被理所当然地按照传统观念归为社
 4.Generally
speaking, the legal system of
new China develops from modeling
on what former soviet union had adopted
before, so it falls within socialist legal
system. However, if we trace back to the
history , we could find out some signs of
civil law.
 5. In China, judicial decisions,
including judicatio of the supreme court,
are not binding to other courts' decisions.
Judges make their decisions based on the
existing statutes.
Text II Introduction to the Legal
System of Canada
Words: passage, penalize, tenancy
Phrases: originate from / in, grant leave to
appeal, fall within…jurisdiction,
per se
Terms: constitutional monarchy, federalism,
parliamentary democracy,
three readings
Text II Introduction to the Legal
System of Canada
Ⅰ. (para. 1) Introduction: regime, composition,
official language and legal system of
Ⅱ. (para. 2-6) 5 sources of law
Ⅲ. (para. 7-17) role of the legislature,
executive and judiciary in the law-making
Part I
Ⅰ. (para. 1) Introduction: regime, composition,
official language and legal system of Canada
-regime: constitutional monarchy, federalism and
parliamentary democracy
-composition: 10 provinces and 3 territories
-2 official languages: English and French
-2 legal systems: common law and civil law
Part II
Ⅱ. (para. 2-6) 5 sources of law
 -the Canadian Constitution
 -international treaties
 -federal / provincial laws
 -judicial opinions: case law
 -custom: election
Part III
Ⅲ. (para. 7-17) role of the legislature,
executive and judiciary in the law-making
1. (para. 7-8) the legislature:
-federal: 3 entities: the Governor
General, the Senate, and the
House of Commons
-provincial: 2 entities: the Lieutenant
Governor, the Legislative Assembly
 2.
(para. 9-10) the executive
-federal: the Cabinet
-provincial: the Executive Council
 3. (para. 11-17) the judiciary
-the Supreme Court of Canada
-federal court
-provincial court: lower court < superior
court < provincial court of appeal
-administrative tribunal
monarchy 君主立宪制
 -Monarchy is the system of government
in which a single person called king or
queen holds the office of head of state for
life, usually by hereditary right; a
monarchy is a state governed by such a
system. In an absolute monarchy, the
monarch rules the country personally; in
constitutional monarchy s/he has no real
power to govern.
 constitutional
 -type of government, in which the state is a
federation of semi-autonomous provinces or
states, with a central federal government
 federalism
three readings 三读
Three Readings: another interpretation
 三读(three
readings) 西方国家议会立法和
审议议案所经过的3个程序。 源于英国,以
Text III
words and legal terms: forgery, libel /
libelous, be defamatory of sb, allegedly, for
the purposes of, within the meaning of
The case citation is: Godfrey v Demon Internet Ltd, QBD,
[1999] 4 All ER 342, [2000] 3 WLR 1020; [2001] QB 201
In my judgment the defamatory posting was
published by the defendant and, as from 17
January 1997 it knew of the defamatory content
of the posting, it cannot avail itself of the
protection provided by s 1 of the 1996 Act and its
defence under s 1 is in law hopeless. Therefore
the plaintiff's summons to strike out succeeds.
With regard to the defendant's application to
amend the defence I make no definitive ruling
but indicate that it is likely to succeed. It may
also be helpful to suggest that on the basis of
the proposed amended defence any award of
damages to the plaintiff is likely to be very small.
Demon settles internet libel case
Demon Internet faces a legal bill of around
£500,000 after settling its long-running libel case
about malicious messages posted to its
newsgroup servers.
 In an out of court settlement, physicist Dr
Laurence Godfrey will be paid damages and
costs by Demon.
 The ISP must pay £15,000 damages plus legal
costs, estimated at £230,000. Including its own
costs, Demon's bill is likely to approach
 The
case creates a dilemma for ISPs
because if they screen submissions or
suspend websites, which would in any
case be technically difficult, they could
inflame the debate over freedom of
expression or damage internet-based

Unit 3 Legal Systems