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Report on English Law And Civil Law Act 1956

Composition of English law

  • Common law
  • Rules of equity
  • Statutes
  • The common law is the body of rules developed by the old common law courts-Court of Exchequer, Court of Common Pleas, and Court of King's Bench – as distinct from the old Court of Chancery, all of which are now extinct.
  • The common law is the unwritten or un-enacted law of England based solely on decisions of the courts.
  • Rules of equity is the body of rules developed first by the Lord Chancellor and later, towards the end of fifteenth century, by the old Court of Chancery.
  • Equity is not a complete body of rules which can exist on its own. It came into being to supplement the common law, to correct its defects and mitigate its harshness.
  • If there is a conflict between common law and equity, the latter prevails . S3(2) CLA 1956

Summary of statutes which provided for the reception of English law:

  • First Royal Charter of Justice of 1807
  • Second Royal Charter of Justice 1826
  • Third Royal Charter of Justice 1855
  • Law of Sarawak Ordinance 1928

     Statutory authority for introduction of English law into Sarawak.

  • Civil Law Enactment (1937 FMS No 3)

     Statutory authority for introduction of English law into Federated Malay States.

  • Civil Law Ordinance 1938

     Statutory authority for introduction of English law into North Borneo (now Sabah).

  • Application of Laws Ordinance 1949 - Sarawak.
  • Application of Laws Ordinance 1951 - North Borneo (now Sabah).
  • Civil Law (Extension) Ordinance 1951 - Unfederated Malay states.
  • Civil Law Act 1956 - Federation of Malaya (including Penang and Malacca).
  • Civil Law Act 1956 (revised 1972)- Malaysia (including Sabah and Sarawak).

General Application of English Law

  • Section 3(1) of the Civil Law Act 1956 (Act 67) provides for the general application of English law. It states:

           "Save so far as other provision has been made or ma hereafter be made by any written law in force in Malaysia, the court shall:

  1. a) in West Malaysia or any part thereof, apply the common law of England and the rules of equity as administered in England on 7th day of April, 1956;
  2. b) in Sabah, apply the common law of England and the rules of equity, together with statutes of general application, as administered or in force in England on the 1st day of December, 1951;

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