Topic 1: Legal Tradition
Pick one country from the list below and critically discuss with your classmates how a country’s legal tradition impacts the development of the legal system. Be sure to specify the differences between legal traditions and legal systems and the cultural component of each.
Country list: Australia, Norway, Iran, or Russia
Topic 1: Student Response #1 (Respond helpfully to Kristin post)
Student #1: Kristin Stiverson
“Prior to the 1979 Revolution, the Iranian legal system was a mixed jurisdiction: its private law merged ideas from the 1804 French Civil Code with Islamic law, while its criminal law largely abandoned Shariʿa in favor of institutional and procedural designs of civil law jurisdictions” (Banakar & Ziaee, 2018, para. 8). Iran has a supreme leader who appoints the heads of the judiciary system and makes political decisions. The court system is general and specific as it operates under the constitution. “Crucially, as Article 4 of the constitution stipulates, Iranian law is based on “Islamic criteria,” with Shariʿa as its primary source” (Banakar & Ziaee, 2018, para. 8). There are fundamentals and traditions that are followed by the judiciary system. There is coded law and rules that guide judicial authorities. “Courts are to adjudicate cases on the basis of the codified law, unless such law is absent, in which case the judge may decide cases on the basis of authoritative Islamic sources” (Banakar & Ziaee, 2018, para. 9).
Banakar, R. & Ziaee, K. (2018). The life of the law in the islamic republic of iran. Taylor & Francis Online. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00210862.2018.1467266
Topic 1:Student Response #2 (Respond helpfully to Monica’s post)
Student #2: Monica Mcalister Norwegian Legal Tradition
Legal Traditions: Norway
“A legal tradition puts the legal system into a cultural perspective. It refers to deeply rooted and historically conditioned attitudes about things such as the nature of law, the role of law in society,” (Reichel, 2018, p. 76). Legal traditions play a role in impacting legal systems as they develop because they are the cultural norms for with the systems have grown from; thus, each country has a different history and culture that played a role in the way in which the citizens and government viewed the roll in which the legal system played within their society. When categorizing these similarities, Reichel (2018) notes, that there are four major legal traditions, or families, that the legal systems of today call into that include civil, common, religious/philosophical, and then a hybrid tradition that encompasses similarities from more than one of the previous three traditions. (pp. 76-78).
In Norway the legal system is one that most closely resembles the civil law tradition; additionally, though it has integrated some aspects of Anglo-Saxon common law (Lappi-Seppala & Tonry, 2011, p. 3). According to the United States Department of Justice (1980), the “Norwegian system is characterized by broad police and prosecutorial discretionary powers, centralized bureaucracy, and a comprehensive network of institutions.” This system, along with the other Scandinavian counties (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland) which have inherently similar systems due to the cultural similarities, tend to have low imprisonment rates for developed counties (Lappi-Seppala & Tonry, 2011, p.1).
The Norwegian criminal justice system has been impacted by legal traditions, like the Chinese system with Li and Fa, in that there is a moralistic component to them. Such as, juvenile offenders are relegated to mitigated punishments rather than decades or lifelong sentences, which are also not allowed even for adult offenders (Lappi-Seppala & Tonry, 2011, p. 2; Reichel, 2018, p. 94). The general idea is that people are inherently good and though some may make a bad decision it should be a learning experience and rehabilitation and growth are preferred methods over long-term sentences.
Lappi-Seppala, T., & Tonry, M. (2011). Crime, criminal justice, and criminology in the Nordic countries. Crime and Justice: Review of Research, 40, 1-32.
Reichel, P. L. (2018). Comparative criminal justice systems: a topical approach. Pearson.
United States Department of Justice. (1980). Criminal justice system – Norway. Office of Justice Programs. Retrieved from https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/criminal-justice-system-norway