The Russian legal system is significantly different from the American system, but shares many features with European countries, especially France, Sweden, and Germany. One of the most important characteristics of Russian law is that it is a typical civil legal system, which means it is reliant primarily on the existence of legal codes (or legislative enactments) for articulating the law, and to a much lesser degree on precedent from previous court decisions. The US legal system is based on common law principles, in which (1) judges play a greater role than in the civil system, and where (2) precedent is one of the fundamental bases for the rule of law, both as outcomes articulated from former cases and as binding precedent (where inferior courts are bound by the decisions of higher courts – stare decisis). Common law systems have their roots in the United Kingdom and are found in its former colonies (including the USA, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa).