Legal history, legal traditions, and legal systems around the world are different for all countries. Some countries may have some standard terms and laws, but certain aspects are distinct. Usually, the legal systems or regulations in a country are based on its legal or social history.
In this article, let’s learn about what is legal history, legal traditions, legal system, especially in the context of India. These are some crucial topics in law that aspirants should know to improve their knowledge. If you are doing CLAT preparation and want to seek a career in law, it will be beneficial for you.
Legal History or History of Law
Legal history can be defined as the study of the ways law has changed and transformed over the years, along with the reasons behind the transformations.
It is somehow related to the development of civilizations and the history of society. Thus, many historians and jurists have considered the history of law as the recording of the evolution of laws and legal systems.
Whereas, historians of the 20th century had different views about legal history. They saw it with contextualized sight, aligning it with the thoughts of the social historians. For instance, they considered legal organizations as complex sets of rules, symbols, players, etc. According to them, the elements of the legal history were meant to bring changes and promote specific aspects of civil society.
In short, the legal history includes parameters of the social science, statistical methods, litigations, petitioners, as well as several legal processes that changed over the years for a reason.
For instance, ancient India had different law traditions with independent schools of legal theory and practice. In the country, the legal historians have followed the Arthashastra and the Manusmriti for legal guidance.
Legal tradition is one of the commonly used terms in legal history and comparative law. The rise in interest in different perspectives on law and history has made the role of legal traditions more topical.
A legal tradition can be defined as a group of deeply rooted, historically conditioned attitudes about the nature of law. It also includes the role of laws in society, the right structure and application of the legal systems, and how a law is created, applied, improved, and implemented.
A few of the popular legal traditions in the world include the common law legal tradition, indigenous legal tradition, civil law legal tradition, the Islamic legal tradition, and socialist legal tradition, etc.
When the legal systems are created in a country, these are based on the foundational methods of law. These include civil laws, statutory laws, religious laws, and common laws. Some nations opt for one of these, while some are influenced by a combination of these laws.
Moreover, every country has its legal system based on its unique history. Therefore, you will see some variations in the legal system of every country. For instance, India has family or personal laws for Hindus, Muslims, and Christians.
Hindu personal law in India is meant for the Hindus, which came into action during the British Raj. Whereas, Muslim personal laws in India are meant to govern the Muslims of the country.
Civil laws and common laws are the most widespread across the world. The reason behind the prevalence of civil laws is the landmass and the overall population.
The legal system of India is based on hybrid laws and a combination of civil law, common law, customary law, and religious law. Most of the laws are derived from or have the history of the colonial era in the country. Several legislations were initially started by the Britishers who ruled India. Some of those laws have been modified. After independence, the legal system in India adheres to the guidelines of the United Nations on human rights law and environmental law.
Indian legal system comprises nearly 1250 laws, which are a combination of criminal laws, contract laws, labor laws, constitutional and administrative laws, tort laws, property laws, tax laws, trust laws, family laws, company laws, and nationality laws.
Legal history, legal traditions, and legal systems are some technical terms in the law. For the law aspirants who want deep knowledge of the field right from the beginning of their career, they will be interested in learning and knowing more about certain aspects.
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