I have a¬†huge problem, that makes me weak¬†‚Äď I am afraid of¬†breaking a¬†law and¬†afraid of¬†paying fines. This happens, because I don‚Äôt know the¬†laws. In¬†fact, no¬†one knows all the¬†laws. Even lawyers usually specialise in¬†one specific theme, like property law or¬†bankruptcy law.
How to¬†know all the¬†laws then?
Some People pay private lawyers hundreds of¬†euros every month. Some people read the¬†laws themselves and¬†try to¬†remember most of¬†them. However, laws are quickly changing and¬†the¬†law that was 3 years ago could stop existence or¬†could be edited. Others don‚Äôt care about laws and¬†are either scared of¬†doing stuff that can be unlawful. Some are just doing whatever they want, and¬†sometimes get the¬†fine for¬†thousands and¬†millions of¬†dollars.
I decided to¬†solve the¬†law illiteracy problem and¬†give everyone a¬†wise lawyer in¬†a¬†pocket. I will tell about that later, but¬†now let‚Äôs learn some basics about the¬†law, and¬†different types of¬†law.
There are different law systems based on¬†the¬†region. The¬†most popular are Common law and¬†European law.
Common law is based on¬†judicial decisions, rather than laws written by¬†a¬†legislative body. It evolved in¬†England and¬†is now used in¬†many countries, including the¬†United States, Canada, and¬†Australia.
In¬†a¬†common law system, judges make decisions in¬†individual cases, and¬†these decisions serve as¬†precedents for¬†future cases with similar circumstances. This process of¬†precedent-based decision-making is known as¬†stare decisis (stay by¬†things decided). Over time, these judicial decisions form a¬†body of¬†law, which is commonly referred to¬†as¬†common law.
In¬†the¬†United States, common law is used in¬†many areas of¬†law, including contract law, tort law, and¬†property law. Federal and¬†state statutes may also play a¬†role in¬†shaping common law.
Lawyers have the¬†following difficulties with common law:
- Complexity¬†‚Äď The¬†common law system can be complex, as¬†it relies on¬†the¬†interpretation of¬†judicial precedents and¬†the¬†application of¬†legal principles to¬†new cases. Lawyers must have a¬†deep understanding of¬†legal precedent and¬†be able to¬†apply these principles to¬†new situations, which can be challenging.
- Inconsistency¬†‚Äď The¬†common law system can be inconsistent, as¬†different judges may interpret the¬†law differently, leading to¬†conflicting precedents. This can create confusion and¬†make it difficult for¬†lawyers to¬†predict the¬†outcome of¬†a¬†case.
- Unpredictability¬†‚Äď Because the¬†common law system is based on¬†judicial decisions, the¬†outcome of¬†a¬†case can be unpredictable, making it difficult for¬†lawyers to¬†advise their clients.
- Time-consuming¬†‚Äď Researching and¬†citing relevant judicial precedents can be time-consuming for¬†lawyers, especially in¬†complex cases. This can lead to¬†increased costs for¬†clients and¬†can be a¬†barrier to¬†access to¬†justice.
Civil law law is based on¬†written laws and¬†codes, such as¬†those found in¬†the¬†Napoleonic Code. Civil law systems are used in¬†many countries, including most of¬†continental Europe, Japan, and¬†Latin America.
In¬†a¬†civil law system, laws are codified into comprehensive legal codes, such as¬†the¬†Napoleonic Code, which was influential in¬†shaping the¬†civil law systems of¬†many countries. These legal codes set out the¬†laws and¬†regulations that govern society and¬†provide a¬†comprehensive framework for¬†resolving disputes.
Judges in¬†civil law systems rely on¬†these written codes and¬†laws to¬†make decisions, rather than relying on¬†previous judicial decisions as¬†in¬†common law systems. This means that civil law systems are less flexible than common law systems, as¬†judges have less discretion to¬†interpret the¬†law and¬†must follow the¬†written codes.
Civil law is classified roughly into 7 groups:
- Contract law: governs agreements between parties and¬†the¬†rights and¬†obligations arising from those agreements.
- Tort law: governs compensation for¬†injuries or¬†wrongs committed by¬†one party against another.
- Property law: governs the¬†rights and¬†responsibilities of¬†individuals with regards to¬†property ownership and¬†use.
- Family law: governs legal relationships between family members, including marriage, divorce, and¬†child custody.
- Employment law: governs the¬†relationship between employers and¬†employees, including issues related to¬†wages, working hours, and¬†discrimination.
- Environmental law: governs protection and¬†management of¬†the¬†natural environment and¬†natural resources.
- Bankruptcy law: governs the¬†process by¬†which individuals or¬†businesses can eliminate or¬†repay their debts.
Civil law systems also typically have specialized courts, such as¬†commercial courts, to¬†deal with specific areas of¬†law.
In¬†civil law, lawyers have to¬†know the¬†laws in¬†the¬†Code (book with laws). They have to¬†know how to¬†interpret every word and¬†every comma. for¬†example:
In¬†the¬†Canadian case Bell Canada v. Rogers Communications Inc., the¬†Supreme Court of¬†Canada considered the¬†meaning of¬†a¬†comma in¬†the¬†Canadian Radiotelevision and¬†Telecommunications Commission Act. The¬†act provided that ‚Äúa¬†Canadian carrier shall not, without the¬†prior approval of¬†the¬†Commission, control the¬†content or¬†influence the¬†meaning or¬†purpose of¬†telecommunication.‚ÄĚ
The¬†question was whether the¬†comma between ‚Äúcontent‚ÄĚ and¬†‚Äúinfluence‚ÄĚ made a¬†difference in¬†the¬†interpretation of¬†the¬†law. The¬†Supreme Court of¬†Canada held that the¬†comma made a¬†significant difference and¬†that the¬†law prohibited carriers from controlling the¬†content of¬†telecommunication, but¬†not¬†from influencing its meaning or¬†purpose. The¬†case showed that even a¬†small change in¬†punctuation can have significant implications for¬†the¬†interpretation of¬†the¬†law and¬†the¬†outcome of¬†a¬†case.
Difference between civil and¬†common law
- Flexibility: Common law is considered more flexible than civil law, as¬†judges have more discretion to¬†interpret the¬†law and¬†can adapt to¬†changing circumstances, while civil law is more rigid and¬†prescriptive.
- Codification: Common law is not¬†codified, but¬†instead evolves over time through judicial decisions, while civil law is codified into comprehensive legal codes, such as¬†the¬†Napoleonic Code.
- Dispute resolution: In¬†common law systems, judges have more discretion to¬†interpret the¬†law and¬†determine the¬†outcome of¬†a¬†case, while in¬†civil law systems, judges are required to¬†follow the¬†written codes and¬†laws.
What does it all mean?
I work with AI and¬†for¬†AI it is much easier to¬†understand well-defined rules, such that are written in¬†civil law. I decided to¬†write my own AI Telegram Bot, which answers whether it is legal or¬†not¬†to¬†do the¬†action, that a¬†person wrote to¬†a¬†bot. It gives the¬†links to¬†the¬†source (To¬†the¬†code of¬†laws) and¬†the¬†examples that are similar and¬†happened in¬†the¬†past 3 years.