Country Cheat Sheet – Civil Law vs. Common Law

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The world’s legal systems are mainly comprised of three basic systems – common law, civil law, and religious law. Civil law or common law are the systems employed by most major business markets. Below are a few notes on their distinctive features followed by a cheat sheet for the countries that operate in these systems.

Common Law: Common law’s main feature is the idea of judge-made decisions setting legal precedent. The basic principle is that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently. Thus, prior court decisions have precedential authority. Common law was developed in England and can generally be seen throughout the British Empire.

Civil Law: Civil Law’s distinctive feature is it is interpreted from a referable system rather than developed by previous court-made decisions. This system of law comes from the Romans and can generally be seen throughout Europe.

Below is a list of countries in alphabetical order that follow either the common law or civil law system. Please note, many countries have localized versions of these systems due to their histories and influences.

Country
System
England and Wales
Common Law
Northern Ireland
Common Law
Albania
Civil Law
American Samoa
Common Law
Andorra
Civil Law
Angola
Civil Law
Antigua and Barbuda
Common Law
Argentina
Civil Law
Armenia
Civil Law
Aruba
Civil Law
Australia
Common Law
Austria
Civil Law
Azerbaijan
Civil Law
Bahamas
Common Law
Bangladesh
Common Law
Barbados
Common Law
Belarus
Civil Law
Belgium
Civil Law
Belize
Common Law
Benin
Civil Law
Bhutan
Common Law
Bolivia
Civil Law
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Civil Law
Brazil
Civil Law
British Virgin Islands
Common Law
Bulgaria
Civil Law
Burkina Faso
Civil Law
Burundi
Civil Law
Cambodia
Civil Law
Canada
Common Law
Cape Verde
Civil Law
Cayman Islands
Common Law
Central African Republic
Civil Law
Chad
Civil Law
Chile
Civil Law
Colombia
Civil Law
Costa Rica
Civil Law
Cote d'Ivoire
Civil Law
Croatia
Civil Law
Cuba
Civil Law
Curaçao
Civil Law
Cyprus
Common Law
Czech Republic
Civil Law
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Civil Law
Denmark
Civil Law
Dominica
Common Law
Dominican Republic
Civil Law
Ecuador
Civil Law
Egypt
Civil Law
El Salvador
Civil Law
Equatorial Guinea
Civil Law
Estonia
Civil Law
Ethiopia
Civil Law
Fiji
Common Law
Finland
Civil Law
France
Civil Law
Gabon
Civil Law
Georgia
Civil Law
Germany
Civil Law
Ghana
Common Law
Gibraltar
Common Law
Greece
Civil Law
Grenada
Common Law
Guatemala
Civil Law
Guinea
Civil Law
Guinea-Bissau
Civil Law
Haiti
Civil Law
Honduras
Civil Law
Hong Kong
Common Law
Hungary
Civil Law
Iceland
Civil Law
India
Common Law
Ireland
Common Law
Israel
Common Law
Italy
Civil Law
Jamaica
Common Law
Japan
Civil Law
Kiribati
Common Law
Latvia
Civil Law
Lebanon
Civil Law
Liberia
Common Law
Libya
Civil Law
Lithuania
Civil Law
Luxembourg
Civil Law
Macau
Civil Law
Marshall Islands
Common Law
Mauritius
Civil Law
Mexico
Civil Law
Mongolia
Civil Law
Montenegro
Civil Law
Mozambique
Civil Law
Myanmar
Common Law
Nauru
Common Law
Nepal
Common Law
Nepal
Civil Law
Netherlands
Civil Law
New Zealand
Common Law
Norway
Civil Law
Pakistan
Common Law
Palau
Common Law
Panama
Civil Law
Paraguay
Civil Law
People's Republic of China
Civil Law
Peru
Civil Law
Poland
Civil Law
Portugal
Civil Law
Republic of the Congo
Civil Law
Romania
Civil Law
Russia
Civil Law
Rwanda
Civil Law
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Common Law
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Common Law
Serbia
Civil Law
Singapore
Common Law
Slovakia
Civil Law
Slovenia
Civil Law
South Korea
Civil Law
Spain
Civil Law
Suriname
Civil Law
Sweden
Civil Law
Switzerland
Civil Law
Syria
Civil Law
São Tomé e Príncipe
Civil Law
Taiwan (Republic of China)
Civil Law
Timor-Leste
Civil Law
Tonga
Common Law
Trinidad and Tobago
Common Law
Turkey
Civil Law
Tuvalu
Common Law
Uganda
Common Law
Ukraine
Civil Law
United States
Common Law
United States – Louisiana
Civil Law
Uruguay
Civil Law
Uzbekistan
Civil Law
Venezuela
Civil Law
Vietnam
Civil Law
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