State legal systems in the United States are based on one of two legal systems. Forty-nine states base their laws on the common law system, first used in England.
However one state, Louisiana, uses the French Napoleonic Code as the basis for their legal system. While common law-based legal systems rely on the rulings of judges to set precedents that are used to make later decisions, the Louisiana system does not.
The Napoleonic Code was intended to simplify the laws in a time when many people were illiterate or did not have access to printed information. Ironically, the effort to create a simpler and easier to understand legal system has resulted in one of the more complex and least understood set of state laws here in Louisiana.
There are many other distinctions between the two systems, but it is not as important to know every single distinction as it is … Read More