With respect to the Common Law System and the Civil Legal System, which of these have more specific laws and which are more generic?

This question could also cover any other law systems in regards to my question above.


1 Answer 1


The premise shows have a huge misconception about what makes a law:

  • Civil legal system has no included laws, only the civil/penal code exist and you can not be punished for anything that is not somehow shoehorned into those laws. But different countries are very different!
  • Common Law does include some torts that can be sued or prosecuted for that are not on the law records. For example, the UK - a common law country - does not define murder at all, but it is unlawful.

Beyond those general pointers, it is down to the jurisdiction to see who has more specific laws, and that can differ a lot even in the same system!

Let me give an example:

  • Germany has §25 StVO (3) of the traffic code that demands a pedestrian to cross the road on the shortest possible route. The whole of §25 StVO enumerates where and when pedestrians can use the (vehicle part of the) road at all, and confines them to the pedestrian ways.
  • New York State, Art.27 Vehicle and Traffic Law, § 1150 to 1157 likewise regulate where pedestrians may be in road traffic, and the closest to mirroring the German §25(3) StVO is § 1152, telling how you may cross the road under specific circumstances.

It is extremely hard to compare these two paragraphs which is more specific, and they are just a random example of an extremely specific law to begin with.

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