Customary law in south africa is tied to ethnicity so that a zulu who desires expressly or by implication to be bound by sotho customary law could be faced with considerable difficulties despite the promise of section 30 of the constitution. These texts were taken over in various forms in the european civil law as part of the western legal tradition from the compilations of emperor justinian the institutes the digests and the code some conclusions can be drawn that highlight the role of customary law as a positive source of legal obligations. Common law countries the customary law defined and developed by the courts is the foundation on which the legal edifice is reared all statutes large and small whether called codes or not are but modifi cations of the customary law and must be interpreted with a constant regard to this underlying foundation. As per the law dictionary define that civil law as the body of laws of a state or nation dealing with the rights of private citizens as well known civil law or also known as civilian law is a legal system which is influenced by the roman law and in especially the corpus juris civilis of emperor justinian and the developments during the middle ages
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