Before learning how to study the procedural laws, it is quite important to gain knowledge and understanding about the procedural law.
Procedural law is the law which actually prescribes the methods and procedures for imposing the rights and the duties for obtaining redressal. The various procedural laws in India are as follows-
- The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
- Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
- Indian Evidence Act, 1872
- Limitation Act, 1963
- The Court Fees Act 1870
- The Suits Valuation Act, 1887
It is also necessary to understand the difference between procedural and substantive laws, which are the two basic types of laws in any country. Substantive law is the law which creates or defines, duties, obligations, rights and causes of action that can be enforced by the law. Procedural law is the law which actually prescribes the methods and procedures for imposing the rights and the duties for obtaining redressal. Substantive laws answer the questions about how the facts of each case are to be handled, how to penalize or ascertain damages in each case. Procedural law basically refers to the processes through which the case proceeds. Simply put, the procedural laws define the rules with which the substantive laws may be enforced.
Other than all this, we should also learn about the history of the procedural laws as learning about all this will lead to us having a strong base about the subject and having a lot clarity in understanding the subject, if we go in depth of the procedural laws, it will be quite easy for us to understand the difficult terms.
The historical development of the procedural law includes Roman Law and the Islamic Legal Tradition, Medieval European Law and the English Common Law. The Roman legal tradition was passed on to the later generations through the Corpus Juris Civilis, which was a compilation of centuries of Roman jurisprudence. The text was collected in the first part of the 6th century by the order of the Eastern emperor Justinian I and became a main source for ecclesiastical and modern civil law. As jurists compiled this monument to legal learning and organization, the Roman Empire in the West lay in ruins, having been overrun by German tribes. The Western Empire had been unable to provide its citizens with security from the attack. The immediate future of the Western European law, laid with the tribal legal systems. Unlike classical and imperial Roman laws, which was the product of a largely secular society, the Islamic legal tradition has remained firmly rooted in religious texts and practices. This feature limited its potential for spreading to non-Islamic societies. One can, however, identify features that it shares with other legal systems. Like today’s civil-law systems, the Islamic tradition also depends on an elite cadre of highly educated jurists, who probe and shape the parties’ cases and who assume the responsibility for rendering a just decision in accordance with an elaborate body of all the authoritative texts. Like the classical Roman law, the Islamic tradition permits no appeal, the original decision is also the final decision. However we can only see a much milder version of the same principle in today’s common-law procedure, which, though it permits appeals, limits the grounds far more than civil-law systems.
With its heavy reliance on written rather than oral presentations, the Roman-canonical procedure contrasted markedly with that of Germanic tribal laws. The Roman tradition required the representation by learned counsel and judges, who were quite scarce and less in the early medieval period. Precise rules governed the presentation of evidence. Witnesses could ordinarily testify to the court only by submitting a written summary of their testimony prepared by a court clerk or the notary. This complex and slow procedure might have worked reasonably well for the elaborate disputes involving land ownership, but it was also ill-suited to the day-to-day needs of commerce. As a result, the special courts operated by and for businessmen sprang up only in the important mercantile centres to deal with the matters of maritime and inland commerce.
Originally the procedure in the English local and feudal courts resembled quite closely that of other countries with a Germanic legal tradition. Unlike the continental European countries, however, England did not Romanize it’s indigenous procedure but instead it developed a procedure of its own capable of substantial growth and adjustment. England’s ability to do this was likely a result of only two factors, both related to the strong monarchical system that followed the Norman Conquest, the creation of the jury system and the establishment of a centralized royal court system. The jury allowed the flexibility of lay participation while offering a substitute for the antiquated methods of proof of the traditional Germanic law ordeal, trial by battle, and wager of law. The central courts led to the creation of a definite legal tradition, the common law, and to the administration of justice through permanent professional judges and their attendant clerks.
It is important to gain knowledge of the procedural laws before actually trying to understand them, this is the main point of understanding the laws better, not only procedural laws but any law can be understood if an in depth study is done towards it. Other than that, reading the bare acts along with illustrations also help a lot and finally, reading and analyzing the case laws of the procedural law one is studying is also of utmost importance.