The concept of common law is closely connected traditionally to the Anglo-American judicial systems (Gardner, 1999). The notion may signify somewhat different meanings in different contexts. Here, we use the concept of common law as a notion for legal systems that relies heavily upon norms defined by previous decisions made by courts or even by governmental, administrative practice (e.g. by supervisory organisations dealing with judgment of real situations, not only normative interpretation of the regulation).
In Britain (England), which is a country that typically adheres to the concept of common law, there are written norms expressed as acts or statutes. Moreover, these written norms (e.g. made by Parliament or by any subordinate institution by authority), will have an overriding effect on any conflicting norms developed based on common law. However, the concept of common law is very important as it defines the legal space even when no explicit statutes, acts or regulations are directly applicable. Based on this concept, it is also possible to gain more substantial understanding of the extent and interpretation of generalized normative expressions in the written legislation.
The purpose of this paper is to conceptualise the robustness of the risk regulation regime in the petroleum industry based on the legal framework by making a distinction between the Anglo-American concepts of common law as opposed to statutory law. We believe that such a distinction may be of importance due to the strong bilateral influence between the UK and Norway in the North Sea.