Legal custom and other rules established by practice: issues of correlation
Keywords:customary law, legal precedent, practice of state authorities, personal business practice
The article is devoted to the issues of the comparison between legal custom and other rules, formed by practice. In particular, the correlation of legal custom with the practice of state authorities, legal precedent and personal business practice is considered. Identifying the relationships between them makes it possible to understand the meaning of the corresponding phenomena. Differences in the legal nature of the mentioned phenomena cause the fact that some are sources of law, while others are not. The acquisition or loss of certain parameters (features) can lead to the transition (transformation) of one phenomenon into another with corresponding consequences.
It is explained, that the practice of state authorities is not an independent form of law, but can create such forms - legal custom, legal precedent, etc. It can also create quasi-legal phenomena – agreements between governing subjects, clerk habits, etc. The criteria for distinguishing between legal custom and legal precedent are defined: subjects, the nature of law-making practice, the intensity of such practice, the justification of validity and content, the level of certainty and formalization, as well as the scope of legal action. A legal custom is a general social practice, which consists in repeating certain actions several times or refraining from them by a wide range of subjects. Instead, legal precedent is formed by the special practice of the competent authority in the course of law enforcement, which is most often expressed in a specific judicial or administrative decision.
It has been found, that business practice is able to create two basic types of rules for contracting parties – legal customs and rules of personal business practice. The first of them are characterized by generality and in terms of legal consequences are equated to the norms, contained in the legislation. Instead, the latter bind only specific counterparties, and therefore are equivalent to the terms of the contract, concluded between them. The use of the term "custom" to delineate the rules, formed by personal business practice, is not only contrary to its nature, but also creates a terminological imbalance in law of obligations
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