For your Assignment, research “civil law” based legal systems and “common law” based legal systems. Most of the world follows civil law systems. With civil law, the law is what the legislature says it is and case precedent is not a part of legal thinking. Judges in a civil law system do not make new law when they decide cases. Each case is decided on more of a case by case basis. Also, judges in civil law systems are usually career government employees, who in some cases have never practiced law. Judges in a common law influenced system usually come from the ranks of practicing attorneys who have many years of experience.
In countries that used to be British colonies, and in the UK today, there is a common law history in the legal system. (By the way, despite the similar names, common law marriage did not originate with the British common law courts and should not be a part of your discussion in this assignment.) In a common law influenced system, judges on courts of appeal make new law when they decide cases. Statutes are the law as well, but cases can set a precedent by which later cases, which are similar, are decided.
In the U.S., all states, except Louisiana, follow a common law influenced legal system. Louisiana follows civil law as to its non-criminal law. In Canada, all provinces, except Quebec, follow a common law influenced legal system. Quebec follows a civil law system.
Community property law is a product of civil law, but 9 US states follow it today. The other 41 do not follow community property law. Community property basically means that each spouse owns half of what the other spouse earns during the marriage.
When the permanent federal income tax began, in 1913, with ratification of the 16th Amendment, there was no joint income tax filing for married people. Each individual who had income had a personal responsibility to file an income tax return. When World War 2 began, more and more families began to have two incomes from outside the home. This created a tax advantage for those in the community property states. Consider this example: Husband made $10,000 and wife made $40,000. In a community property state, this was looked at as each of them making $25,000 a year. This would put both of them is the same midrange tax bracket. However, a couple with the same income in a separate property state was paying a lot more in income tax. Although the person who was only paying on income of $10,000 was paying very little tax, the person with $40,000 of income was in a very high tax bracket, resulting in the non-community property state couple paying a lot more in federal income tax. In order to make taxation more fair across the country for those with the same amount of household income, Congress created joint income tax filing for married people, which was essentially adopting a community property idea, to make federal taxation more uniform around the country.
The jurisprudence of civil law and common law have influenced each other in many ways.
In an essay of 5 to 7 pages, types in 10-12 point font (Arial, Courier and Times New Roman are acceptable), cite at least three different characteristics of civil law and common law and discuss in detail which legal system you consider to be superior to the other. Be sure to state reasons, with appropriate references, for your position.
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