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common vs legislation law

Legislation is a law created by Parliament Common law is that system of our law handed down to us from generation to generation.

In response to a number of inquiries where it appears, there is a clear need to explain the difference between the various branches of SA Law including both civil law and criminal law; we will today discuss this topic in a short blog.

In the South African Legal System; we can differentiate between various spheres of the Law within that same system.

Initially; it is important to understand the difference between Common Law and Legislation.

Common Law is that system of our law handed down to us from generation to generation and has its roots in Roman Law as practised by the Romans, and later in Roman-Dutch Law. It has however through the last few centuries also been influenced by English Law, and other legal systems; to develop into our current common law system. Examples of our common law are the principles of a marriage; being married in community of property ( if no Ante Nuptial Contract has been executed before the marriage, the law reflecting status and the fact that minors reach majority on adulthood which is now the age of 18 years; having previously been 21 years of age.

Legislation is Law as passed/legislated by our various Parliaments through the ages and now forms our current statutes that govern the citizens of our country. Statutes are our written laws passed by Parliament. Examples of our Legislation are the Divorce Act, The Consumer Protection Act and the Prescription Act.

Our current Law, therefore, has been developed over a long period of time (in fact hundreds of years) and is also constantly changing and adapting so as to meet the needs of the modern RSA.

In a nutshell: Legislation is a law created by Parliament and common law is our system of law as developed over a long period of time; and also influences legislation and vice versa.

Please also visit our website at www.legaladviceoffice.co.za or send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your legal questions.

About our author:

Hugh Pollard (Legal Consultant), has a BA LLB and 42 years’ experience in the legal field. 22 years as a practicing attorney and conveyancer; and 20 years as a Legal Consultant.

082-0932304 (Hugh’s Cell Number)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.legaladviceoffice.co.za

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