1. The English legal system
The United Kingdom is made up of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and separate (but often substantially identical) systems of law apply in each part. This Briefing Note relates only to the law in England and Wales which enjoy a permissive legal system based on common law. This is an ancient system of law under which legal principles have been developed through decisions of the courts, unlike Continental countries which have adopted civil law systems, based on Roman law, under which the legal principles are set out in the Civil Code and other codes. Of course, modern life has required large parts of English law to have been codified, such as company law, property law, employment law, banking and financial services law.