Different Sources of Criminal Law


If you are not concern about different sources of criminal law, you should read this article. Criminal law is considered as the body of law that applies to the criminal act. Criminal lawyers are helpful because they help to daunt crime, reform the perpetrator, provide payback for the action, and avert further crimes. 

Criminal law is quite diverse from civil law because criminal law penalties include the confiscation of one’s rights and sentence. But civil law includes the resolution of legal controversies and includes money damages.

Where does criminal law come from? In the following part, I am going to discuss different sources of criminal law.

Let’s Start the Different Sources of Criminal Law

The Common Law

Different sources use the term common law in different ways, where the meaning is slightly different. It is the reason why the term bit is disturbing to the students. But the easiest way to understand the term is to know about the history of the American legal system.

Common law is also known as judge-made law first emerged in the medieval period in England when the judge used to decide cases based on legal customs of that time.

It may be a surprising issue for us now, but in the early days of English common law, the law was a subject of oral tradition. At that time crime definitions and punishments were not in a written form.

Over the next period, cases and judicial decisions became recorded regularly. An English legal scholar named Sir William Blackstone collected most of the common law tradition of England and recorded them on paper in an organized way.

His four volumes set Commentaries on the laws of England were incorporated in colonies as common law by founding fathers and ultimately became the law of the United States.

In modern America, most of the crimes are defined by statute, and these statutory definitions use ideas and terms which came from common law tradition.

If a court makes a particular decision on a specific matter, they are bound to obey the same rule in future cases. It is one of the prominent characteristics of court laws.

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The primary principles and laws of a political nation, state, or social groups decide the powers and duties of government and give a guarantee of exclusive rights of the people in it.

Some country’s constitutions are written documents like the United States. Again some country’s laws are a collection of documents, statutes, and traditional practices such as United Kindom’s one.

Statutory Law

In our modern times, most of the states and federal governments have moved away from the common-law definitions of crime and through the legislative process, created their versions.

Most of the criminal law at present is made by the state legislature and matter of statutory law.

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Administrative Law

Administrative law is a body of law that assists the management and regulation of government agencies. Such agencies are affecting the change of several social issues like- racial discrimination.

Administrative law governs both federal and state agencies. It is considered a branch of public law and sometimes referred to as regulatory law.

Cases of Court

When the appellate court decides on one legal issue, then in future cases with the same legal issues, have to follow that decision (according to the doctrine of precedence). Such kinds of laws are known as case law.


For various purposes, criminal law serves us. Criminal law provides us the predictability about what to expect from others. Without it, perhaps there would be chaos.

It is providing us a nonviolent way to resolve problems among citizens, and with the help of it, we can handle injustices in an organized way.

Criminal law is protecting individuals and also their properties from criminals. Besides this, criminal law assists society in smooth functioning. Criminal law is vital for protecting individual rights.



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