Law in the UK

The rule of law and order and the stability that it creates is one of the foundation blocks of the modern United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom is not one country but four, it has had not had a unified legal system since it was created by the Treaty of the Union in 1707, which guaranteed the right of Scotland’s independent legal system to continue.

While English law and Northern Ireland Law are based on principles of common law, Scots Law is a much more pluralistic system based on both civil law and common law.

Despite these contrasting differences coupled with the fact that there are certain parts of UK legislature and the legal system that are devolved, there is still a wide ranging body of law that applies to the United kingdom as a whole.

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the highest court for criminal and civil cases in England, Northern Ireland and Wales as well as civil cases in Scotland.

English Law

English law is the legal system that is administered by the courts in Wales and England which are in charge of making decisions on criminal and civil cases.

English Law is known around the world for being the birthplace of common law, or case law and the English law system remains based upon these principles.

Common law is a system where unless subject to legislative statute (which is usually broad in it scope) the law is developed through the decisions of judges in court through the application of statute, common sense and precedent to the evidence that is presented to them.

This has resulted in no major codification of English law being attempted and it remaining a distinct legal system since 1189.

Northern Irish Legal System

The legal system of Northern Ireland is based on the common law system of English law, and was established there under English rule. However, there are large similarities between the two legal systems of England and Northern Ireland, while there are also substantial differences.

Scots law

Scots law is a unique body of law in the fact that it is a hybrid body of law originating from several different places. This pluralistic or mixed system is based on an un-codified body of civil law that can trace its origins to the Roman body of civil law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, and common law principles that originate in the medieval era.

It is worth remembering that the legal systems of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have also all been substantially influenced by European Union law such as the Treaty of Rome.