English (UK) Legal System – Introduction [Part 1]

1 Essentials of English legal system

This is the most important part of the syllabus in which we will discuss that how the law developed and administered in the UK jurisdiction. We discuss all its crucial aspects covering the civil law and criminal law and duties of individuals in relation to these laws.

This part is divided into three sub-parts

  • English legal system
  • Sources of English law
  • Human rights

1.1 English legal system

In this part we will start from the origin of law and discuss the following topics one by one.

  • About law
  • Types of law
  • Courts system
  • Tribunal system

What is law?

We define it simply as a formal system of rules and regulations in which a particular country or society is bound to act under that rules and regulations so we can say it as a formal mechanism of social control.

Why we need law/ the history of law

To determine the need of law we have to read the history where the human life was very simple with social disorder because there was no system to control them. People were seen to quarrel at food and place. They were not aware about their rights and obligations.

Due to this disorder there was a fine line between life and death. For example a stealing of food from one party, put the other party into death. They started to live at the behalf of power. The persons having great power, ruled at that time.

At this point there was a need of system to control this disorder and at that time a set of rules were developed through which disputed were resolved and punishment for the cruel people and that system of rules knows as Law.

Legal history is closely matched with human civilization. Law evolved and changed into its modern form by the passing of time.

Now in this modern world a proper legal system is working in each country and society.

English legal system is generally a legal system of England and Wales.

Under the English legal system we discuss the following types of law through which we also determine that how the English law evolved and changed into current system law.

  • Common law
  • Equity law
  • Statute law
  • Private law
  • Public law
  • Civil law
  • Criminal law

Common law was an earliest system of law that was prevailed in England and United states.

This system was developed by the custom and judicial precedent.

Common law system was rigid and composed of strict rules, made by the judges and people must have to follow that rules. People were punished harshly under that system and damages were paid in monitory value.

People were unhappy about the rules and they criticized it on large scale. So after two to three hundred years, a new system of rules developed in fact a common law system amended with more fairness and justice.

This new system of fairness and justice is known as equity law. Under this system people were treated equally with equal rights and obligations. The disputed were resolved more fairly and monitory and non-monitory damages were available for loss.

Statute law

Statute law id developed by the parliaments in a set of prescribed rules and regulations. For example the government passed acts so these are the written rules according to which disputes can be resolved.

This suitable is suitable for unique and complicated systems.

Private law

Private law is the law which deals the individual’s personal matters with relations like disputes related with divorce, children, marriage and personal property.

The effects of the disputes can be seen on one person or group of people (usually family) and not the whole society that is why it is called private law.


Civil law

Public law

Unlike private law this covers the whole society that usually concerned with the matter of state. For example the crimes which affect the whole society and public may demand to punish the person who commits that that wrong act.


Criminal law

Civil and criminal law

The law which is similar to private law is known as civil law. Under this law the disputes of personal dealings and issues are resolved.

Both parties have to prove the fairness in the court through verbal arguments and court decides the compensation of punishment which is minor as compared to the remedies of criminal law.

On the other hand the conduct which is prohibited under the law and affect on the whole public is dealt under the criminal law.  The guilty persons who have broken the laws may be punished by fines or imprisonment.