Just as how there are different kinds of law so is there a large variety of legal systems (Vago 2009, p. 12). The most used legal systems across many countries are as follows: Romano-Germanic (civil law), common law, socialist law and Islamic law (David & Brierley, 1985 cited in. Vago 2009, p. 12). The Romano-Germanic is widely used in Europe France and its colonies, Spain, Portugal,, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain including those countries that have reformed their legal systems in the western way during the 19th and 20th centuries (Vago 2009, p. 12).
Most English speaking countries dominantly use common-law systems. Middle East countries resort to Islamic law; in other words Islamic law dominates where Islamic religion has spread (Vago 2009, p. 13). Countries like People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea use Socialist legal systems. It is also believed that some elements of socialist systems exist in the former Soviet Union and Eastern European Countries (Vago 2009, p. 13). The Romano-Germanic’s legal science is based on Roman ius civile or civil law (Mousourakis, 2007 cited in.
Vago 2009, p. 13). It consists of rules that were developed in the 16th century A. D. during the reign of Roman emperor Justinian. These rules exist in the Justinian Code and have evolved primarily as private as a means of regulating private relationships between individuals (Vago 2009, p. 13). Following the fall of the Roman Empire the Justinian Code competed with the customary law of the Germanic tribes during their invasion. However, the Justinian Code coexisted with the local systems throughout Europe and in other parts of the continent.
Common law refers to the English System which evolved after the Norman Conquest 1066 (Vago 2009, p. 13). Other laws that resisted codification include England law and other English Law Systems, for instance, US, Canada, Ireland and India. This refers to the famous “judge-made” law which is not similar to legislation or statutory law (Vago2009, p. 13). It believes that the parliament does not enact laws but much law is based on precedents set by judges in deciding a case (Friedman, 1998 cited in Vago 2009, p. 13).
The socialist law aims at three things namely: national security; equal distribution of resources and according to everyone’s needs; and thirdly to promote socialist-based education (Vago 2009, p. 14). Legislation is the main source of socialist law which represents the popular wish of the Communist Party (Vago 2009, p. 14). In this system, courts only apply the law, not to create or interpret it. This system disregards the concept of separation of powers and places much emphasis on ownership (Vago 2009, p. 14).
It prohibits private ownership and recommends that it be used only to satisfy personal needs. Islamic Legal System is not an independent branch of knowledge as compared to other legal systems (Vago 2009, p. 17). Its precepts go hand-in-hand with the Islamic religion, which controls the social order of the faithful who make laws in their light of their God (Vago 2009, p. 17). These laws are based on divine command and revelation (Vago 2009, p. 17). This distinguishes them from other legal systems that base themselves on judicial decisions, precedents and legislation (Vago 2009, p. 13).