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Law is a
system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purpo ...

system
of rules created and
enforced In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bou ...
through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been variously described as a
science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the u ...
and the art of justice. State-enforced laws can be made by a group
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
or by a single legislator, resulting in
statuteA statute reffers to the body of law that are made by legislature of the nation with instrument which govern the state, country or any nation. it includes laws, rules and the reulation whichhas to be followed by each citizen in the county. A statute ...

statute
s; by the executive through
decree A decree is a rule of law usually issued by a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of statebeing an embodiment of the ...
s and
regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and society, but the term has slightly different meanings according to context. Fo ...

regulation
s; or established by judges through
precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case is typically based ...
, usually in
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-use ...
jurisdictions. Private individuals may create legally binding
contract A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. A contract is legally enforceable because it meets the requirements and approval of the law. A ...
s, including arbitration agreements that adopt alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation. The creation of laws themselves may be influenced by a
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
, written or tacit, and the
rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal system, social conventi ...
encoded therein. The law shapes
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that stu ...

politics
,
economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. ...
,
history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 millio ...

history
and
society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be ...

society
in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. Legal systems vary between countries, with their differences analysed in
comparative law Comparative law is the study of differences and similarities between the law (List of national legal systems, legal systems) of different countries. More specifically, it involves the study of the different legal "systems" (or "families") in existe ...
. In
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
s, a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates the law. In
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-use ...
systems, judges make binding case law through
precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case is typically based ...
, although on occasion this may be overturned by a higher court or the legislature. Historically,
religious law Religious law includes ethical and moral codes taught by religious traditions. Different religious systems hold sacred law in a greater or lesser degree of importance to their belief systems, with some being explicitly Antinomianism, antinomian ...
influenced secular matters, and is still used in some religious communities.
Sharia law Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It's derived from the Five Pillars of Islam, religious precepts of Islam and is based on the interpretations of the Islamic holy books, sacred scr ...
based on
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
ic principles is used as the primary legal system in several countries, including
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north ...

Iran
and
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan. It reads: "I bear witness that none deserves worship e ...

Saudi Arabia
. Law's scope can be divided into two domains.
Public law Public law is the part of law that governs relations between legal persons and a government, between different institutions within a State (polity), state, between Separation of powers, different branches of governments, as well as relationships ...
concerns government and society, including
constitutional law The principles from the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen still have constitutional importance Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state State ...
,
administrative law Administrative law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its en ...
, and
criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environ ...
. Private law deals with legal disputes between individuals and/or organisations in areas such as
contracts A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. A contract is legally enforceable because it meets the requirements and approval of the law. A ...
,
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to Consumable, consume, alter, ...
,
torts A tort, in common law jurisdiction, is a civil wrong (other than breach of contract) that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. It can include intentional infliction ...
/ delicts and
commercial law Commercial law, also known as mercantile law or trade law, is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A sys ...
. This distinction is stronger in
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
countries, particularly those with a separate system of
administrative courts An administrative court is a type of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ...
; by contrast, the public-private law divide is less pronounced in
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-use ...
jurisdictions. Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into
legal history Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, ...
,
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such ques ...

philosophy
, economic analysis and
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly ...
. Law also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness, and
justice Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, by Vitruvio Alberi, 1589–1590. Fresco, corner of the vault, studiolo of the Virgin of Mercy, Madonna of Mercy, Palazzo Altemps, Rome Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people recei ...

justice
.


Philosophy of law

The philosophy of law is commonly known as jurisprudence. Normative jurisprudence asks "what should law be?", while analytic jurisprudence asks "what is law?"


Analytical jurisprudence

There have been several attempts to produce "a universally acceptable definition of law". In 1972, Baron Hampstead suggested that no such definition could be produced.
Dennis Lloyd, Baron Lloyd of Hampstead Dennis Lloyd, Baron Lloyd of Hampstead (22 October 1915 – 31 December 1992) was a British jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholar ...
. ''Introduction to Jurisprudence''. Third Edition. Stevens & Sons. London. 1972. Second Impression. 1975. p. 39.
McCoubrey and White said that the question "what is law?" has no simple answer.
Glanville Williams Glanville Llewelyn Williams (15 February 1911 – 10 April 1997) was a Welsh legal scholar who was the Rouse Ball Professor of English Law at the University of Cambridge from 1968 to 1978 and the Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at University ...
said that the meaning of the word "law" depends on the context in which that word is used. He said that, for example, " early customary law" and "
municipal law Municipal law is the national, domestic, or internal law of a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from t ...
" were contexts where the word "law" had two different and irreconcilable meanings.
Thurman Arnold
Thurman Arnold
said that it is obvious that it is impossible to define the word "law" and that it is also equally obvious that the struggle to define that word should not ever be abandoned. It is possible to take the view that there is no need to define the word "law" (e.g. "let's forget about generalities and get down to cases"). One definition is that law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behaviour. In ''
The Concept of Law ''The Concept of Law'' is a 1961 book by the legal philosopher HLA Hart and his most famous work.''The'' ''Concept of Law'' presents Hart's theory of legal positivism Legal positivism is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence develo ...
'' Hart argued law is a "system of rules"; Austin said law was "the command of a sovereign, backed by the threat of a sanction"; Dworkin describes law as an "interpretive concept" to achieve
justice Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, by Vitruvio Alberi, 1589–1590. Fresco, corner of the vault, studiolo of the Virgin of Mercy, Madonna of Mercy, Palazzo Altemps, Rome Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people recei ...

justice
in his text titled ''
Law's Empire ''Law's Empire'' is a 1986 text in legal philosophy by Ronald Dworkin, in which the author continues his criticism of the philosophy of legal positivism as promoted by H.L.A. Hart during the middle to late 20th century. The book notably introdu ...
'';Law's Empire ''Law's Empire'' is a 1986 text in legal philosophy by Ronald Dworkin, in which the author continues his criticism of the philosophy of legal positivism as promoted by H.L.A. Hart during the middle to late 20th century. The book notably introdu ...
, 410">Dworkin, ''
Law's Empire ''Law's Empire'' is a 1986 text in legal philosophy by Ronald Dworkin, in which the author continues his criticism of the philosophy of legal positivism as promoted by H.L.A. Hart during the middle to late 20th century. The book notably introdu ...
'', 410 and Raz argues law is an "authority" to mediate people's interests. Holmes said, "The prophecies of what the courts will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious, are what I mean by the law." In his ''
Treatise on Law ''Treatise on Law'' is Thomas Aquinas' major work of legal philosophy. It forms questions 90–108 of the ''Prima Secundæ'' ("First artof the Second art) of the ''Summa Theologiæ'', Aquinas' masterwork of Scholastic philosophical theology ...
'' Aquinas argues that law is a rational ordering of things which concern the common good that is promulgated by whoever is charged with the care of the community. This definition has both positivist and naturalist elements.


Connection to morality and justice

Definitions of law often raise the question of the extent to which law incorporates morality.
John AustinJohn Austin may refer to: Military *John Austin (soldier) (1801–1833), active in early settlement of Mexican Texas *John Arnold Austin (1905–1941), warrant officer in the United States Navy *John Beech Austin (1917–2012), British aviator in ...
's
utilitarian Utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically va ...
answer was that law is "commands, backed by threat of sanctions, from a sovereign, to whom people have a habit of obedience".Bix
John Austin
Natural lawyers on the other side, such as
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
, argue that law reflects essentially moral and unchangeable laws of nature. The concept of "natural law" emerged in ancient
Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece were struggling to repel devastating invasions from the east. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in w ...
concurrently and in connection with the notion of justice, and re-entered the mainstream of
Western culture Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society, and European civilization, is the heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, politi ...
through the writings of
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
, notably his ''
Treatise on Law ''Treatise on Law'' is Thomas Aquinas' major work of legal philosophy. It forms questions 90–108 of the ''Prima Secundæ'' ("First artof the Second art) of the ''Summa Theologiæ'', Aquinas' masterwork of Scholastic philosophical theology ...
''. When having completed the first two parts of his book ''
Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes Honoré de Balzac's ''Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes'', translated either as ''The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans'' or as ''A Harlot High and Low'', was published in four parts from 1838 to 1847: * ''Esther Happy'' (''Esther heureuse ...
'', which he intended to be the end of the entire work,
Honoré de Balzac Honoré de Balzac ( , more commonly , ; born Honoré Balzac; 20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. The novel sequence '' La Comédie humaine'', which presents a panorama of post- Napoleonic French life, is ...

Honoré de Balzac
visited the
Conciergerie The Conciergerie () is a building in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents as of 2018, in an ...
. Thereafter, he decided to add a third part, finally named ''Où mènent les mauvais chemins'' (''The Ends of Evil Ways''), entirely dedicated to describing the conditions in prison.. In this third part, he states:
Hugo Grotius Hugo Grotius (; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot () and in Dutch as Hugo de Groot (), was a Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, poet and playwright. A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was bor ...

Hugo Grotius
, the founder of a purely rationalistic system of natural law, argued that law arises from both a social impulse—as Aristotle had indicated—and reason.
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philosopher and one of the central Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers. Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethic ...

Immanuel Kant
believed a moral imperative requires laws "be chosen as though they should hold as universal laws of nature".
Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham (; 15 February 1748
ld Style and New Style dates, O.S. 4 February 1747 LD may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film and television *Lorraine "L.D." Delacorte, a character on the TV series '' Degrassi'' *Larry David, sometimes referred to as L.D. on the television show ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' *Latin Disciples, a fict ...
– 6 June 1832) was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism. Bentham defined as the "fundamen ...

Jeremy Bentham
and his student Austin, following
David Hume David Hume (; born David Home; 7 May 1711 NS (26 April 1711 OS) – 25 August 1776) Cranston, Maurice, and Thomas Edmund Jessop. 2020
999999 or triple nine most often refers to: * 999 (emergency telephone number) 250px, A sign on a beach in the coastguard in the event of an emergency 999 is an official emergency telephone number in a number of countries which allows the caller to ...
avid Hume" ''Encyclopædia Britannica''. Retrieved 18 May 2020. was a Scottish Enlightenment philosop ...

David Hume
, believed that this conflated the "is" and what "ought to be" problem. Bentham and Austin argued for law's
positivism Positivism is a philosophical theory that states that "genuine" knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (procedural knowledge), or objects ( ...
; that real law is entirely separate from "morality". Kant was also criticised by
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, writer, and Philology, philologist whose work has exerted a profound influence on contemporary philosophy, modern ...

Friedrich Nietzsche
, who rejected the principle of equality, and believed that law emanates from the
will to power The will to power (german: der Wille zur Macht) is a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in humans. However, the ...
, and cannot be labeled as "moral" or "immoral". In 1934, the Austrian philosopher
Hans Kelsen Hans Kelsen (; ; October 11, 1881 – April 19, 1973) was an Austrian jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily with a ...

Hans Kelsen
continued the positivist tradition in his book the '' Pure Theory of Law''. Kelsen believed that although law is separate from morality, it is endowed with "normativity", meaning we ought to obey it. While laws are positive "is" statements (e.g. the fine for reversing on a highway ''is'' €500); law tells us what we "should" do. Thus, each legal system can be hypothesised to have a basic norm ('' Grundnorm'') instructing us to obey. Kelsen's major opponent,
Carl Schmitt Carl Schmitt (; 11 July 1888 – 7 April 1985) was a German jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily with a formal ...
, rejected both positivism and the idea of the
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the '' Oxford English Dictionary'' as " e authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a ...

rule of law
because he did not accept the primacy of abstract normative principles over concrete political positions and decisions. Therefore, Schmitt advocated a jurisprudence of the exception (
state of emergency A state of emergency or emergency powers is a situation in which a government is empowered to be able to put through policies that it would normally not be permitted to do, for the safety and protection of their citizens. A government can decla ...
), which denied that legal norms could encompass all of the political experience.Finn, ''Constitutions in Crisis'', 170–171 Later in the 20th century, H. L. A. Hart attacked Austin for his simplifications and Kelsen for his fictions in ''
The Concept of Law ''The Concept of Law'' is a 1961 book by the legal philosopher HLA Hart and his most famous work.''The'' ''Concept of Law'' presents Hart's theory of legal positivism Legal positivism is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence develo ...
''. Hart argued law is a system of rules, divided into primary (rules of conduct) and secondary ones (rules addressed to officials to administer primary rules). Secondary rules are further divided into rules of adjudication (to resolve legal disputes), rules of change (allowing laws to be varied) and the rule of recognition (allowing laws to be identified as valid). Two of Hart's students continued the debate: In his book ''
Law's Empire ''Law's Empire'' is a 1986 text in legal philosophy by Ronald Dworkin, in which the author continues his criticism of the philosophy of legal positivism as promoted by H.L.A. Hart during the middle to late 20th century. The book notably introdu ...
'',
Ronald Dworkin Ronald Myles Dworkin (; December 11, 1931 – February 14, 2013) was an American philosopher, jurist, and scholar of United States constitutional law. At the time of his death, he was Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York ...
attacked Hart and the positivists for their refusal to treat law as a moral issue. Dworkin argues that law is an " interpretive concept",Law's Empire ''Law's Empire'' is a 1986 text in legal philosophy by Ronald Dworkin, in which the author continues his criticism of the philosophy of legal positivism as promoted by H.L.A. Hart during the middle to late 20th century. The book notably introdu ...
, 410" /> that requires judges to find the best fitting and most just solution to a legal dispute, given their constitutional traditions.
Joseph Raz Joseph Raz (; he, יוסף רז; born 21 March 1939) is an Israeli legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, ...
, on the other hand, defended the positivist outlook and criticised Hart's "soft social thesis" approach in ''The Authority of Law''.Raz, ''The Authority of Law'', 3–36 Raz argues that law is authority, identifiable purely through social sources and without reference to moral reasoning. In his view, any categorisation of rules beyond their role as authoritative instruments in mediation are best left to
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly ...
, rather than jurisprudence.


History

The history of law links closely to the development of
civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood ...

civilization
.
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric ...
ian law, dating as far back as 3000 BC, was based on the concept of
Ma'at Maat or Maʽat ( Egyptian: mꜣꜥt /ˈmuʀʕat/, Coptic: ⲙⲉⲓ) refers to the ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, ...
and characterised by tradition,
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or ...
al speech, social equality and impartiality. By the 22nd century BC, the ancient
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian '; Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). ...

Sumer
ian ruler
Ur-Nammu Ur-Nammu (or Ur-Namma, Ur-Engur, Ur-Gur, Sumerian: , ruled c. 2112 BC – 2094 BC middle chronology The middle chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early Iron Age, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi to 1792–1750 BCE a ...
had formulated the first
law code A code of law, also called a law code or legal code, is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted, by a process of codification. ...
, which consisted of
casuistic Casuistry ( ) is a process of reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectua ...
statements ("if … then ..."). Around 1760 BC,
King Hammurabi Hammurabi () was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty of the Amorite tribe, reigning from c. 1792 BC to c. 1750 BC (according to the Middle Chronology The middle chronology is one chronology of the Near Eastern Bronze and Early I ...

King Hammurabi
further developed Babylonian law, by codifying and inscribing it in stone. Hammurabi placed several copies of his law code throughout the kingdom of Babylon as
stelae A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English. or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), ...

stelae
, for the entire public to see; this became known as the
Codex Hammurabi The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ' ...

Codex Hammurabi
. The most intact copy of these stelae was discovered in the 19th century by British
Assyriologists Assyriology (from Greek , ''Assyriā''; and , '' -logia'') is the archaeological, historical, and linguistic study of Assyria and the rest of ancient Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσο ...
, and has since been fully
transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters (thus '' trans-'' + '' liter-'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → , Cyrillic → , Greek → the digraph , Armenian → or ...
and translated into various languages, including English, Italian, German, and French. The
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical c ...
dates back to 1280 BC and takes the form of moral imperatives as recommendations for a good society. The small
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is ...
city-state, ancient
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica (region), Attica region and is one of the List of oldest ...
, from about the 8th century BC was the first society to be based on broad inclusion of its citizenry, excluding women and the
slave Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved person being made ...
class. However, Athens had no legal science or single word for "law", relying instead on the three-way distinction between divine law (''thémis''), human decree (''nomos'') and custom (''díkē''). Yet
Ancient Greek law Ancient Greek law consists of the laws and legal institutions of Ancient Greece. The existence of certain general principles of law is implied by the custom of settling a difference between two Greek states, or between members of a single state, ...
contained major
constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be ...
innovations in the development of
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
.
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor Ju ...
was heavily influenced by Greek philosophy, but its detailed rules were developed by professional jurists and were highly sophisticated. Over the centuries between the rise and decline of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity it included large territorial holdings aro ...

Roman Empire
, law was adapted to cope with the changing social situations and underwent major codification under
Theodosius II Theodosius II ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος, ''Theodósios''; 10 April 401 – 28 July 450), commonly called Theodosius the Younger or the Calligrapher, was Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the Hist ...
and
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός, Ioustinianós; 11 May 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor from 527 to 565. His reign is marked by the ...
.As a legal system, Roman law has affected the development of law worldwide. It also forms the basis for the law codes of most countries of continental Europe and has played an important role in the creation of the idea of a common European culture (Stein, ''Roman Law in European History'', 2, 104–107). Although codes were replaced by
custom Custom may refer to: Sense: Customary * Convention (norm), a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or criteria, often taking the form of a custom * Custom (law) or ''customary law'', laws and regulations establi ...
and
case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is called ...
during the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages (historiography), Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start ...
, Roman law was rediscovered around the 11th century when medieval legal scholars began to research Roman codes and adapt their concepts to the
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or churc ...
, giving birth to the ''
jus commune ''Jus commune'' or ''ius commune'' is Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...
''. Latin
legal maxim#REDIRECT Legal maxim A legal maxim is an established principle or proposition of law, and a species of aphorism and general maxim (philosophy), maxim. The word is apparently a variant of the Latin , but this latter word is not found in extant tex ...
s (called brocards) were compiled for guidance. In medieval England, royal courts developed a body of
precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case is typically based ...
which later became the
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-use ...
. A Europe-wide
Law Merchant ''Lex mercatoria'' (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
was formed so that merchants could trade with common standards of practice rather than with the many splintered facets of local laws. The Law Merchant, a precursor to modern commercial law, emphasised the freedom to contract and alienability of property. As
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peop ...
grew in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Law Merchant was incorporated into countries' local law under new civil codes. The
Napoleonic Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
Codes became the most influential. In contrast to English common law, which consists of enormous tomes of case law, codes in small books are easy to export and easy for judges to apply. However, today there are signs that civil and common law are converging. EU law is codified in treaties, but develops through ''de facto'' precedent laid down by the
European Court of Justice The European Court of Justice (ECJ, french: Cour de Justice européenne), formally just the Court of Justice, is the supreme court The supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government i ...

European Court of Justice
. Ancient
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest ...
and
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
represent distinct traditions of law, and have historically had independent schools of legal theory and practice. The ''
Arthashastra The ''Arthaśāstra'' ( sa, अर्थशास्त्र, ) is an ancient Indian Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging t ...
'', probably compiled around 100 AD (although it contains older material), and the ''
Manusmriti The ''Manusmṛti'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European l ...

Manusmriti
'' (c. 100–300 AD) were foundational treatises in India, and comprise texts considered authoritative legal guidance. Manu's central philosophy was tolerance and pluralism, and was cited across Southeast Asia. During the
Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent mainly took place from the 12th to the 16th centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests include the invasions into modern Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English language, English a ...
,
sharia Sharia (, ar, ), Islamic law, or Sharia law, is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, derived from the hadith. In Arabic, the term ''sharīʿah'' refers to God in Islam, G ...
was established by the Muslim sultanates and empires, most notably
Mughal Empire The Mughal Empire, Mogul or Moghul Empire, was an Early modern period, early modern empire in South Asia. Quote: "Although the first two Timurid emperors and many of their noblemen were recent migrants to the subcontinent, the dynasty and the ...
's
Fatawa-e-Alamgiri Fatawa 'Alamgiri also known as Al-Fatawa al-'Alamgiriyya ( ar, الفتاوى العالمكيرية) or Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya ( ar, الفتاوى الهندية) is a sharia Sharia (, ar, ), Islamic law, or Sharia law, is a religious l ...
, compiled by emperor
Aurangzeb Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad (3 November 16183 March 1707), commonly known by the sobriquet (Persian language, Persian: "Ornament of the Throne") or by his regnal title (Persian: "Conqueror of the World"), was the sixth Mughal emperor, who ruled ov ...
and various scholars of Islam. In India, the
Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-l ...

Hindu
legal tradition, along with Islamic law, were both supplanted by common law when India became part of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...
. Malaysia, Brunei,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bord ...
and
Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of the China, People's Repu ...
also adopted the common law system. The eastern Asia legal tradition reflects a unique blend of secular and religious influences. Japan was the first country to begin modernising its legal system along western lines, by importing parts of the
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...
, but mostly the German Civil Code. This partly reflected Germany's status as a rising power in the late 19th century. Similarly,
traditional Chinese law Traditional Chinese law refers to the laws, regulations, and rules used in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most p ...
gave way to westernisation towards the final years of the
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
in the form of six private law codes based mainly on the Japanese model of German law. Today Taiwanese law retains the closest affinity to the codifications from that period, because of the split between
Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Romanization of Chinese, romanized via Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin as Chiang Chieh-shih and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese Kuomintang, Nationalist politician, ...

Chiang Kai-shek
's nationalists, who fled there, and
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also Romanization of Chinese, romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the Proclamation of the P ...

Mao Zedong
's communists who won control of the mainland in 1949. The current legal infrastructure in the People's Republic of China was heavily influenced by
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the ...
Socialist law Socialist law or Soviet law denotes a general type of legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law, common law, statutory law, religious law or combinations of these. Howe ...
, which essentially inflates administrative law at the expense of private law rights. Due to rapid industrialisation, today China is undergoing a process of reform, at least in terms of economic, if not social and political, rights. A new contract code in 1999 represented a move away from administrative domination. Furthermore, after negotiations lasting fifteen years, in 2001 China joined the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. It officially commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus rep ...
.


Legal systems

In general, legal systems can be split between civil law and common law systems. Modern scholars argue that the significance of this distinction has progressively declined; the numerous
legal transplantsThe term legal transplant was coined in the 1970s by the Scottish legal scholar W.A.J. 'Alan' Watson to indicate the moving of a rule or a system of law from one country to another (A. Watson, ''Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law Co ...
, typical of modern law, result in the sharing by modern legal systems of many features traditionally considered typical of either common law or civil law.Mattei, ''Comparative Law and Economics'', 71 The term "civil law", referring to the civilian legal system originating in continental Europe, should not be confused with "civil law" in the sense of the common law topics distinct from
criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environ ...
and
public law Public law is the part of law that governs relations between legal persons and a government, between different institutions within a State (polity), state, between Separation of powers, different branches of governments, as well as relationships ...
. The third type of legal system—accepted by some countries without
separation of church and state The separation of church and state is a philosophic and Jurisprudence, jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations and the State (polity), state. Conceptually, the term refers to the ...
—is religious law, based on
scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a ...
s. The specific system that a country is ruled by is often determined by its history, connections with other countries, or its adherence to international standards. The
sources Source or subsource or ''variation'', may refer to: Research * Historical document * Historical source * Source (intelligence) or subsource, typically a confidential provider of non open-source intelligence * Source (journalism), a person, public ...
that jurisdictions adopt as authoritatively binding are the defining features of any legal system. Yet classification is a matter of form rather than substance since similar rules often prevail.


Civil law

Civil law is the legal system used in most countries around the world today. In civil law the sources recognised as authoritative are, primarily, legislation—especially codifications in constitutions or
statuteA statute reffers to the body of law that are made by legislature of the nation with instrument which govern the state, country or any nation. it includes laws, rules and the reulation whichhas to be followed by each citizen in the county. A statute ...

statute
s passed by government—and
custom Custom may refer to: Sense: Customary * Convention (norm), a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or criteria, often taking the form of a custom * Custom (law) or ''customary law'', laws and regulations establi ...
. Codifications date back millennia, with one early example being the Babylonian ''
Codex Hammurabi The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ' ...

Codex Hammurabi
''. Modern civil law systems essentially derive from legal codes issued by
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
Emperor
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός, Ioustinianós; 11 May 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor from 527 to 565. His reign is marked by the ...
in the 6th century, which were rediscovered by 11th century Italy. Roman law in the days of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the Overthrow of the ...
and Empire was heavily procedural, and lacked a professional legal class. Instead a lay
magistrate The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In ancient Rome, a '' magistratus'' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both judici ...
, ''iudex'', was chosen to adjudicate. Decisions were not published in any systematic way, so any case law that developed was disguised and almost unrecognised. Each case was to be decided afresh from the laws of the State, which mirrors the (theoretical) unimportance of judges' decisions for future cases in civil law systems today. From 529 to 534 AD the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
Emperor
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός, Ioustinianós; 11 May 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor from 527 to 565. His reign is marked by the ...
codified and consolidated Roman law up until that point, so that what remained was one-twentieth of the mass of legal texts from before. This became known as the ''
Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius I ...
''. As one legal historian wrote, "Justinian consciously looked back to the golden age of Roman law and aimed to restore it to the peak it had reached three centuries before." The Justinian Code remained in force in the East until the fall of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages ...
. Western Europe, meanwhile, relied on a mix of the
Theodosian Code The ''Codex Theodosianus'' (Eng. Theodosian Code) was a compilation of the Roman law, laws of the Roman Empire under the Christians, Christian emperors since 312. A commission was established by Emperor Theodosius II and his co-emperor Valentinian ...
and Germanic customary law until the Justinian Code was rediscovered in the 11th century, and scholars at the
University of Bologna The University of Bologna ( it, Alma mater studiorum - Università di Bologna, UNIBO) is a research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of high ...
used it to interpret their own laws. Civil law codifications based closely on Roman law, alongside some influences from
religious law Religious law includes ethical and moral codes taught by religious traditions. Different religious systems hold sacred law in a greater or lesser degree of importance to their belief systems, with some being explicitly Antinomianism, antinomian ...
s such as
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or churc ...
, continued to spread throughout Europe until the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
; then, in the 19th century, both France, with the ''
Code Civil The Napoleonic Code (, lit. "Code Napoleon"), officially the Civil Code of the French (; simply referred to as ''Code civil'') is the French civil code A civil code is a codification of private law relating to property law, property, family l ...
'', and Germany, with the ''
Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch The ''Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch'' (, lit.: 'Civil Law Book'), abbreviated BGB, is the civil code of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languag ...
'', modernised their legal codes. Both these codes influenced heavily not only the law systems of the countries in continental Europe (e.g. Greece), but also the
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...
and
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, an ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language * Korean alphabet, or Hangul Places * Korean Peninsula, a peninsula in East Asia * Korea, ...

Korean
legal traditions. Today, countries that have civil law systems range from Russia] and Turkey to most of Central America, Central and
Latin America * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , religions = , demonym = Latin American Latin Americans ( es, Latinoamericanos; pt, Latino-ameri ...

Latin America
.


Anarchist law

Anarchism has been practiced in society in much of the world. Mass
anarchist communities This is a list of anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. Anarchism calls for the abolition of the State (pol ...
, ranging from
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in ...

Syria
to the United States, exist and vary from hundreds to millions. Anarchism encompasses a broad range of
social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...
political philosophies with different tendencies and implementation. Anarchist law primarily deals with how anarchism is implemented upon a society, the framework based on decentralized organizations and mutual aid, with representation through a form of
direct democracy Image:Landsgemeinde Glarus 2006.jpg, upright=1.5, A Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 2006, Switzerland. Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which people decide on policy initiatives directly. ...
. Laws being based upon their need. A large portion of anarchist ideologies such as
anarcho-syndicalism Anarcho-syndicalism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. It ...
and
anarcho-communism Anarcho-communism, also known as anarchist communism, is a political philosophy and Anarchist schools of thought, anarchist school of thought which advocates the abolition of the State (polity), state, capitalism, wage labour, social hierarchies a ...
primarily focuses on
decentralized Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, authoritative location or group. Concep ...
worker unions,
cooperatives A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject in Russia">Federal subjects of Russia">federal subject in Russia, close to borders of Finland. Picture of Petrozavodsk, the capital of the ...
and syndicates as the main instrument of society.


Socialist law

Socialist law is the legal systems in
communist state A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state gover ...
s such as the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a Political union, union of multiple national Republics of t ...
and the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billion ...

People's Republic of China
. Academic opinion is divided on whether it is a separate system from civil law, given major deviations based on Marxist–Leninist ideology, such as subordinating the judiciary to the executive ruling party.


Common law and equity

In
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-use ...
legal systems, decisions by courts are explicitly acknowledged as "law" on equal footing with
statutesA statute reffers to the body of law that are made by legislature of the nation with instrument which govern the state, country or any nation. it includes laws, rules and the reulation whichhas to be followed by each citizen in the county. A statute ...
adopted through the legislative process and with
regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that a ...
issued by the
executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes and enforces law. In political systems based on the princi ...
. The "doctrine of precedent", or ''
stare decisis A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive without going to courts for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Common law#Disambi ...
'' (Latin for "to stand by decisions") means that decisions by higher courts bind lower courts, and future decisions of the same court, to assure that similar cases reach similar results. In
contrast Contrast may refer to: Science * Contrast (vision), the difference in color and light between parts of an image * Contrast (statistics), a combination of averages whose coefficients add up to zero, or the difference between two means * Behavioral ...
, in "
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
" systems, legislative statutes are typically more detailed, and judicial decisions are shorter and less detailed, because the judge or barrister is only writing to decide the single case, rather than to set out reasoning that will guide future courts. Common law originated from England and has been inherited by almost every country once tied to the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...
(except Malta,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) Anglo-Scottish bo ...
, the U.S. state of
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard v ...
, and the Canadian province of
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...
). In medieval England, the
Norman conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and ...
the law varied-shire-to-shire, based on disparate tribal customs. The concept of a "common law" developed during the reign of
Henry II Henry II may refer to: Kings *Henry II of England (1133–89), reigned from 1154 *Henry II of Jerusalem and Cyprus (1271–1324), reigned from 1285; king of Jerusalem in name only from 1291 *Henry II of Castile (1334–79), reigned 1366–67 and ...

Henry II
during the late 12th century, when Henry appointed judges that had authority to create an institutionalised and unified system of law "common" to the country. The next major step in the evolution of the common law came when
King John of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg, Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen re ...

King John
was forced by his barons to sign a document limiting his authority to pass laws. This "great charter" or ''
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
'' of 1215 also required that the King's entourage of judges hold their courts and judgments at "a certain place" rather than dispensing autocratic justice in unpredictable places about the country. A concentrated and elite group of judges acquired a dominant role in law-making under this system, and compared to its European counterparts the English judiciary became highly centralised. In 1297, for instance, while the highest court in France had fifty-one judges, the
English Court of Common Pleas The Court of Common Pleas, or Common Bench, was a common law court (law), court in the English legal system that covered "common pleas"; actions between subject and subject, which did not concern the king. Created in the late 12th to early 13th ce ...
had five. This powerful and tight-knit judiciary gave rise to a systematised process of developing common law. However, the system became overly systematised—overly rigid and inflexible. As a result, as time went on, increasing numbers of citizens petitioned the King to override the common law, and on the King's behalf the
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in England in the United Kingdom, nominally outranking the Prime Minist ...
gave judgment to do what was equitable in a case. From the time of
Sir Thomas More Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), venerated in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian chur ...

Sir Thomas More
, the first
lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in everyday speech to attorney, is the preferred term for a practising lawyer in certain jurisdiction ...

lawyer
to be appointed as Lord Chancellor, a systematic body of equity grew up alongside the rigid common law, and developed its own
Court of Chancery The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness (or "inequity") of the Common law#History, common law. The Chancery had jurisdiction ov ...

Court of Chancery
. At first, equity was often criticised as erratic, that it varied according to the length of the Chancellor's foot. Over time, courts of equity developed solid
principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political or personal control by someone with authority or power * Busin ...
, especially under
Lord Eldon) , footnotes = Image:John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon by Sir Thomas Lawrence.jpg, John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon Earl of Eldon, in the County Palatine of Durham, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1821 for th ...
. In the 19th century in England, and in 1937 in the U.S., the two systems were
merged In corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are transactions in which the ownership of Company, companies, other business organizations, or their operating units are transferred or Consolidation (business), consolidated with other entit ...
. In developing the common law, academic writings have always played an important part, both to collect overarching principles from dispersed case law, and to argue for change.
William Blackstone Sir William Blackstone (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily ...

William Blackstone
, from around 1760, was the first scholar to collect, describe, and teach the common law. But merely in describing, scholars who sought explanations and underlying structures slowly changed the way the law actually worked.


Religious law

Religious law is explicitly based on religious precepts. Examples include the Jewish
Halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ; also Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', ''halachah'', or ''halocho''; ) is the collective body of Judaism, Jewish religious laws derived from the Torah, written and Oral Tor ...
and Islamic
Sharia Sharia (, ar, ), Islamic law, or Sharia law, is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, derived from the hadith. In Arabic, the term ''sharīʿah'' refers to God in Islam, G ...
—both of which translate as the "path to follow"—while Christian
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or churc ...
also survives in some church communities. Often the implication of religion for law is unalterability, because the word of God cannot be amended or legislated against by judges or governments. However, a thorough and detailed legal system generally requires human elaboration. For instance, the
Quran The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or di ...

Quran
has some law, and it acts as a source of further law through interpretation, ''
Qiyas In Islamic jurisprudence ''Fiqh'' (; ar} ) is Islamic jurisprudence. Muhammad-> Sahabah, Companions-> Tabi‘un, Followers-> Fiqh. The commands and prohibitions chosen by God were revealed through the agency of the Prophet in both the Quran ...

Qiyas
'' (reasoning by analogy), ''
Ijma Ijmāʿ ( ar, إجماع) is an Arabic term referring to the consensus Consensus decision-making or consensus politics (often abbreviated to ''consensus'') is group decision-making processes in which participants develop and decide on proposa ...
'' (consensus) and
precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case is typically based ...
. This is mainly contained in a body of law and jurisprudence known as
Sharia Sharia (, ar, ), Islamic law, or Sharia law, is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, derived from the hadith. In Arabic, the term ''sharīʿah'' refers to God in Islam, G ...
and
Fiqh ''Fiqh'' (; ar} ) is Islamic jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of le ...
respectively. Another example is the
Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: ...

Torah
or
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical c ...
, in the
Pentateuch Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: ...
or Five Books of Moses. This contains the basic code of Jewish law, which some Israeli communities choose to use. The
Halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ; also Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', ''halachah'', or ''halocho''; ) is the collective body of Judaism, Jewish religious laws derived from the Torah, written and Oral Tor ...
is a code of Jewish law that summarizes some of the Talmud's interpretations. Nevertheless,
Israeli law Israeli law is based mostly on a common law legal system, though it also reflects the diverse history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring befor ...
allows
litigant A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the Civil law (common law), civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in ref ...
s to use religious laws only if they choose.
Canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or churc ...
is only in use by members of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wor ...
, the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also call ...
and the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian Full communion, communion after the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches, Eastern Orthodox Church. Founded in 1867 in London, the communion has more than 85 million members ...
.


Canon law

Canon law (from
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is ...
''kanon'', a 'straight measuring rod,
ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure distances or draw straight lines. Variants Rulers have long been made f ...

ruler
') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organisation or church and its members. It is the internal
ecclesiastical {{Short pages monitor Some countries allow their highest judicial authority to overrule legislation they determine to be
unconstitutional Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation ...
. For example, in '' Brown v. Board of Education'', the United States Supreme Court nullified many state statutes that had established
racially segregated Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into race (human classification), racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the international crime of apartheid and a crimes against huma ...
schools, finding such statutes to be incompatible with the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first t ...

United States Constitution
. A judiciary is theoretically bound by the constitution, just as all other government bodies are. In most countries judges may only
interpret Interpreting is a translational activity in which one produces a first and final translation on the basis of a one-time exposure to an expression in a source language. The most common two modes of interpreting are simultaneous interpreting, whic ...
the constitution and all other laws. But in common law countries, where matters are not constitutional, the judiciary may also create law under the doctrine of precedent. The UK, Finland and New Zealand assert the ideal of
parliamentary sovereignty Parliamentary sovereignty (also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy) is a concept in the constitutional law The principles from the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen still have constitutional importan ...
, whereby the unelected judiciary may not overturn law passed by a democratic legislature. In
communist state A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state gover ...
s, such as China, the courts are often regarded as parts of the executive, or subservient to the legislature; governmental institutions and actors exert thus various forms of influence on the judiciary. In Muslim countries, courts often examine whether state laws adhere to the Sharia: the
Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt The Supreme Constitutional Court ( ar, المحكمة الدستورية العليا, ''Al Mahkama Al Dustūrīya El ‘Ulyā'') is an independent judicial body in Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is ...
may invalidate such laws,Sherif, ''Constitutions of Arab Countries'', 158 and in Iran the
Guardian Council The Guardian Council, also called Council of Guardians or Constitutional Council ( fa, شورای نگهبان, Shūrā-ye Negahbān) is an appointed and constitutionally mandated 12-member council that wields considerable power and influence in ...
ensures the compatibility of the legislation with the "criteria of Islam".


Legislature

Prominent examples of legislatures are the
Houses of Parliament The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parliame ...

Houses of Parliament
in London, the
Congress A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different countries, constituent state A constituent state is a state (polity), state entity that constitutes a administrative division, part of a sovereign state. A constituent state h ...

Congress
in Washington D.C., the
Bundestag The Bundestag (, "Federal Diet Diet may refer to: Food * Diet (nutrition), the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group * Dieting, the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake ** Diet food, foods that aid ...
in Berlin, the
Duma A duma (дума) is a Russian assembly with advisory or legislative functions. The term comes from the Russian verb думать (''dumat’'') meaning "to think" or "to consider". The first formally constituted duma was the Imperial State ...
in Moscow, the Parlamento Italiano in Rome and the ''Assemblée nationale'' in Paris. By the principle of representative government people vote for politicians to carry out ''their'' wishes. Although countries like Israel, Greece, Sweden and China are
unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliament'' or ''unicameral legislature'' is a legislature which con ...
, most countries are
bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interac ...
, meaning they have two separately appointed legislative houses.Riker, ''The Justification of Bicameralism'', 101 In the 'lower house' politicians are elected to represent smaller
constituencies An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) precinct, electoral area, circumscription, or electorate, is a subdivision of a larger state Sta ...
. The 'upper house' is usually elected to represent states in a
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...
system (as in Australia, Germany or the United States) or different voting configuration in a unitary system (as in France). In the UK the upper house is appointed by the government as a . One criticism of bicameral systems with two elected chambers is that the upper and lower houses may simply mirror one another. The traditional justification of bicameralism is that an upper chamber acts as a house of review. This can minimise arbitrariness and injustice in governmental action. To pass legislation, a majority of the members of a legislature must
vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate, in order to make a collective decision or express an opinion usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns. Democracies elect holders of high office by voting. ...

vote
for a
bill (proposed law) A bill is proposed legislation under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive (government), executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, ...
in each house. Normally there will be several readings and amendments proposed by the different political factions. If a country has an entrenched constitution, a special majority for changes to the constitution may be required, making changes to the law more difficult. A government usually leads the process, which can be formed from Members of Parliament (e.g. the UK or Germany). However, in a presidential system, the government is usually formed by an executive and his or her appointed cabinet officials (e.g. the United States or Brazil).


Executive

The executive in a legal system serves as the centre of political
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...
of the
State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
. In a
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ...
, as with Britain, Italy, Germany, India, and Japan, the executive is known as the cabinet, and composed of members of the legislature. The executive is led by the
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presides over a cabinet (gover ...
, whose office holds power under the
confidence Confidence is a state of being clear-headed either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Confidence comes from a Latin word 'fidere' which means "to trust"; therefore, having ...
of the legislature. Because popular elections appoint political parties to govern, the leader of a party can change in between elections.Haggard, ''Presidents, Parliaments and Policy'', 71 The
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "
he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun) In Modern English, ''he'' is a Grammatical number, singular, Grammatical gender, masculine, Grammatical person, third-person personal pronoun, pronoun. Morphology In Standard English, Standard M ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international perso ...
is apart from the executive, and symbolically enacts laws and acts as representative of the nation. Examples include the
President of Germany The president of Germany, officially the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundespräsident der Bundesrepublik Deutschland),The official title within Germany is ', with ' being added in international correspondence; t ...
(appointed by members of federal and state legislatures), the
Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or ...
(an hereditary office), and the
President of Austria The president of Austria (german: Bundespräsident der Republik Österreich) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he he ...
(elected by popular vote). The other important model is the
presidential system A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, governmen ...
, found in the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
and in
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, ...
. In presidential systems, the executive acts as both head of state and head of government, and has power to appoint an unelected cabinet. Under a presidential system, the executive branch is separate from the legislature to which it is not accountable. Although the role of the executive varies from country to country, usually it will propose the majority of legislation, and propose government agenda. In presidential systems, the executive often has the power to veto legislation. Most executives in both systems are responsible for
foreign relations Foreign relations or foreign affairs refers to the management of relationships and dealings between countries. Any results of foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, curr ...
, the military and police, and the bureaucracy. Ministers or other officials head a country's public offices, such as a
foreign ministry A foreign affairs minister or minister of foreign affairs (less commonly minister for foreign affairs) is generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 ...
or
defence ministry {{unsourced, date=February 2021 A ministry of defence or defense (see American and British English spelling differences#-ce.2C -se, spelling differences), also known as a department of defence or defense, is an often-used name for the part of a go ...
. The election of a different executive is therefore capable of revolutionising an entire country's approach to government.


Military and police

While military organisations have existed as long as government itself, the idea of a standing police force is a relatively modern concept. For example,
Medieval England England in the Middle Ages concerns the history of England The British Isles became inhabited more than 800,000 years ago, as the discovery of stone tools and footprints at Happisburgh in Norfolk has indicated.; "Earliest footprints outside ...
's system of traveling criminal courts, or
assizes The courts of assize, or assizes (), were periodic courts held around England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England a ...
, used
show trial A show trial is a public trial Public trial or open trial is a trial (law), trial open to public, as opposed to the secret trial. The term should not be confused with show trial. United States The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitut ...
s and public executions to instill communities with fear to maintain control. The first modern police were probably those in 17th-century Paris, in the court of
Louis XIV , house = House of Bourbon, Bourbon , father = Louis XIII, Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Kingdom of France, F ...

Louis XIV
, although the Paris Prefecture of Police claim they were the world's first uniformed policemen.
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German sociologist, historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a pe ...

Max Weber
famously argued that the state is that which controls the monopoly on the legitimate use of force.Weber,
Politics as a Vocation "Politics as a Vocation" (german: Politik als Beruf) is an essay by German economist and sociologist Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political econ ...
The military and police carry out enforcement at the request of the government or the courts. The term
failed state A failed state is a Sovereign state, political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a Sovereignty, sovereign government no longer function properly (see also fragile state and state collapse). A st ...
refers to states that cannot implement or enforce policies; their police and military no longer control security and order and society moves into anarchy, the absence of government.


Bureaucracy

The etymology of ''bureaucracy'' derives from the French word for ''office'' (''bureau'') and the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Dark Ages () ...
for word ''power'' (''kratos''). Like the military and police, a legal system's government servants and bodies that make up its bureaucracy carry out the directives of the executive. One of the earliest references to the concept was made by Baron de Grimm, a German author who lived in France. In 1765, he wrote:
The real spirit of the laws in France is that bureaucracy of which the late Monsieur de Gournay used to complain so greatly; here the offices, clerks, secretaries, inspectors and ''intendants'' are not appointed to benefit the public interest, indeed the public interest appears to have been established so that offices might exist.
Cynicism over "officialdom" is still common, and the workings of public servants is typically contrasted to
private enterprise A privately held company, private company, or close corporation is a corporation not owned by the government, non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head ...
motivated by
profit Profit may refer to: Business and law * Profit (accounting), the difference between the purchase price and the costs of bringing to market * Profit (economics), normal profit and economic profit * Profit (real property), a nonpossessory interest ...
. In fact private companies, especially large ones, also have bureaucracies.Kettl, ''Public Bureaucracies'', 367 Negative perceptions of "
red tape Red tape is an idiom referring to regulations or conformity to formal wikt:rule, rules or wikt:standard, standards which are claimed to be excessive, rigid or redundant, or to bureaucracy claimed to hinder or prevent action or decision-making. I ...

red tape
" aside, public services such as schooling, health care, policing or public transport are considered a crucial state function making public bureaucratic action the locus of government power. Writing in the early 20th century, Max Weber believed that a definitive feature of a developed state had come to be its bureaucratic support.Weber, ''Economy and Society'', I, 393 Weber wrote that the typical characteristics of modern bureaucracy are that officials define its mission, the scope of work is bound by rules, and management is composed of career experts who manage top down, communicating through writing and binding public servants' discretion with rules.


Legal profession

A corollary of the rule of law is the existence of a legal profession sufficiently autonomous to invoke the authority of the independent judiciary; the right to assistance of a
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, resea ...
in a court proceeding emanates from this corollary—in England the function of barrister or advocate is distinguished from legal counselor. As the European Court of Human Rights has stated, the law should be adequately accessible to everyone and people should be able to foresee how the law affects them. In order to maintain professionalism, the
practice of law In its most general sense, the practice of law involves giving legal adviceLegal advice is the giving of a professional or formal opinion regarding the substance or procedure of the law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction ...
is typically overseen by either a government or independent regulating body such as a
bar association A bar association is a professional association of lawyers as generally organized in countries following the Anglo-American types of jurisprudence. The word bar (law), bar is derived from the old English/European custom of using a physical railin ...
,
bar council {{see also, Bar association A bar council ( ga, Comhairle an Bharra) or bar association, in a common law jurisdiction with a legal professionLegal profession is a profession, and legal professionals study, develop and apply law. Usually, there is ...
or law society. Modern lawyers achieve distinct professional identity through specified legal procedures (e.g. successfully passing a qualifying examination), are required by law to have a special qualification (a legal education earning the student a
Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Laws ( la, Legum Baccalaureus; LL.B.) is an undergraduate law degree in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardi ...
, a
Bachelor of Civil Law A bachelor is a man who is not and has never been married.Bachelors are, in Pitt & al.'s phrasing, "men who live independently, outside of their parents' home and other institutional settings, who are neither married nor cohabitating". (). Etymo ...
, or a
Juris Doctor The Juris Doctor degree (J.D. or JD), also known as Doctor of Law or Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D., JD, D.Jur., or DJur), is a graduate-entry professional degree in law and one of several Doctor of Law degrees. Although a graduate degree, the J ...
degree. Higher academic degrees may also be pursued. Examples include a
Master of Laws A Master of Laws (M.L. or LL.M.; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
, a Master of Legal Studies, a
Bar Professional Training Course The Bar Professional Training Course or BPTC is a postgraduate course which allows law graduates to be named and practise as barristers in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. ...
or a
Doctor of Laws Doctor of Law or Doctor of Laws is a degree in law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced ...
.), and are constituted in office by legal forms of appointment ( being admitted to the bar). There are few titles of respect to signify famous lawyers, such as
Esquire Esquire (, ; abbreviated Esq.) is usually a courtesy title. In the United Kingdom, ''Esquire'' historically was a title of respect accorded to men of higher social rank, particularly members of the landed gentry above the rank of gentleman and ...

Esquire
, to indicate barristers of greater dignity, and
Doctor of law Doctor of Law or Doctor of Laws is a degree in law. The application of the term varies from country to country and includes degrees such as the Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D. or S.J.D), Juris Doctor (J.D.), Doctor of Philosophy A Doc ...
, to indicate a person who obtained a
PhD A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as La ...
in Law. Many Muslim countries have developed similar rules about legal education and the legal profession, but some still allow lawyers with training in traditional Islamic law to practice law before personal status law courts. In China and other developing countries there are not sufficient professionally trained people to staff the existing judicial systems, and, accordingly, formal standards are more relaxed. Once accredited, a lawyer will often work in a
law firm A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in everyday speech to attorney, is the ...
, in a
chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apache County *Chambers, Nebraska *Chambers, West Virginia *Chambers Township, Holt Coun ...
as a sole practitioner, in a government post or in a private corporation as an internal
counsel A counsel or a counsellor at law is a person who gives advice and deals with various issues, particularly in legal matters. It is a title often used interchangeably with the title of ''lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices ...
. In addition a lawyer may become a
legal researchLegal research is "the process of identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Cr ...
er who provides on-demand legal research through a library, a commercial service or freelance work. Many people trained in law put their skills to use outside the legal field entirely.Fine, ''The Globalisation of Legal Education'', 364 Significant to the practice of law in the common law tradition is the legal research to determine the current state of the law. This usually entails exploring case-law reports,
legal periodical A legal periodical is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The mo ...
s and legislation. Law practice also involves drafting documents such as court
pleading In law as practiced in countries that follow the English models, a pleading is a formal written statement of a party's claims or defenses to another party's claims in a civil action. The parties' pleadings in a case define the issues to be adjudi ...
s, persuasive
briefs Briefs are a type of short, form-fitting underwear and swimsuit, swimwear, as opposed to styles where material extends down the thighs. Briefs have various different styles, usually with a waistband attached to fabric that runs along the pelvis ...
, contracts, or
wills Wills is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: * Alec Wills (1911-1941), English cricketer and Royal Air Force officer * Alfred Wills (1828–1912), English High Court judge and mountaineer * Andrew Wills (b. 1972), Australian rules fo ...
and trusts. Negotiation and
dispute resolution Dispute resolution or dispute settlement is the process of resolving disputes between parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; cropped away black borde ...
skills (including ADR techniques) are also important to legal practice, depending on the field.


Civil society

The Classical republican concept of "civil society" dates back to Hobbes and Locke. Locke saw civil society as people who have "a common established law and judicature to appeal to, with authority to decide controversies between them." German philosopher
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (; ; 27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) was a German people, German philosopher. He is considered one of the most important figures in German idealism and one of the founding figures of Western philosophy, with hi ...
distinguished the "state" from "civil society" (''bürgerliche Gesellschaft'') in ''
Elements of the Philosophy of Right ''Elements of the Philosophy of Right'' (german: Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts) is a work by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (; ; 27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) was a German people, German philosophe ...
''. Hegel believed that
civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad ...
and the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
were polar opposites, within the scheme of his dialectic theory of history. The modern dipole state–civil society was reproduced in the theories of
Alexis de Tocqueville#REDIRECT Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis Charles Henri Clérel, comte de Tocqueville (; 29 July 180516 April 1859), colloquially known as Tocqueville (), was a French aristocrat, diplomat, political scientist, political philosopher and historia ...

Alexis de Tocqueville
and
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wis ...

Karl Marx
. In post-modern theory, civil society is necessarily a source of law, by being the basis from which people form opinions and lobby for what they believe law should be. As Australian barrister and author Geoffrey Robertson QC wrote of international law, "one of its primary modern sources is found in the responses of ordinary men and women, and of the non-governmental organizations which many of them support, to the human rights abuses they see on the television screen in their living rooms."
Freedom of speech in London, 1974 Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The term freedom of expression is us ...

Freedom of speech
, freedom of association and many other individual rights allow people to gather, discuss, criticise and hold to account their governments, from which the basis of a deliberative democracy is formed. The more people are involved with, concerned by and capable of changing how political power is exercised over their lives, the more acceptable and Legitimacy (political), legitimate the law becomes to the people. The most familiar institutions of civil society include economic markets, profit-oriented firms, families, trade unions, hospitals, universities, schools, charities, cogers, debating clubs, non-governmental organisations, neighbourhoods, churches, and religious associations. There is no clear legal definition of the civil society, and of the institutions it includes. Most of the institutions and bodies who try to give a list of institutions (such as the European Economic and Social Committee) exclude the political parties.


Areas of law

All legal systems deal with the same basic issues, but jurisdictions categorise and identify their legal topics in different ways. A common distinction is that between "
public law Public law is the part of law that governs relations between legal persons and a government, between different institutions within a State (polity), state, between Separation of powers, different branches of governments, as well as relationships ...
" (a term related closely to the State (law), state, and including constitutional, administrative and criminal law), and "private law" (which covers contract, tort and property). In civil law(legal system), civil law systems, contract and tort fall under a general law of obligations, while trusts law is dealt with under statutory regimes or Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and on their Recognition, international conventions. International, constitutional and administrative law, criminal law, contract, tort, property law and trust law, trusts are regarded as the "traditional core subjects", although there are many Law#Further disciplines, further disciplines.


International law

International law can refer to three things: public international law, private international law or conflict of laws and the law of supranational organisations. * Public international law concerns relationships between sovereign nations. The Sources of international law, sources for public international law development are Custom (law), custom, practice and treaties between sovereign nations, such as the Geneva Conventions. Public international law can be formed by international organisations, such as the United Nations (which was established after the failure of the League of Nations to prevent World War II), the International Labour Organization, International Labour Organisation, the World Trade Organization, World Trade Organisation, or the International Monetary Fund. Public international law has a special status as law because there is no international police force, and courts (e.g. the International Court of Justice as the primary UN judicial organ) lack the capacity to penalise disobedience. The prevailing manner of enforcing international law is still essentially "self help"; that is the reaction by states to alleged breaches of international obligations by other states. However, a few bodies, such as the WTO, have effective systems of binding arbitration and dispute resolution backed up by trade sanctions. * Conflict of laws, or private international law in
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
countries, concerns which
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
a legal dispute between private parties should be heard in and which jurisdiction's law should be applied. Today, businesses are increasingly capable of shifting Capital (economics), capital and labour (economics), labour supply chains across borders, as well as trading with overseas businesses, making the question of which country has jurisdiction even more pressing. Increasing numbers of businesses opt for commercial arbitration under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, New York Convention 1958. * European Union law is the first and so far the only example of a supranational law, i.e. an internationally accepted legal system, other than the United Nations and the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. It officially commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus rep ...
. Given the trend of increasing global economic integration, many regional agreements—especially the African Union—seek to follow a similar model. In the EU, sovereign nations have gathered their authority in a system of courts and the European Parliament. These institutions are allowed the ability to enforce legal norms both against or for member states and citizens in a manner which is not possible through public international law. As the
European Court of Justice The European Court of Justice (ECJ, french: Cour de Justice européenne), formally just the Court of Justice, is the supreme court The supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government i ...

European Court of Justice
noted in its 1963 Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen, Van Gend en Loos decision, European Union law constitutes "a new legal order of international law" for the mutual social and economic benefit of the member states.


Constitutional and administrative law

Constitutional and administrative law govern the affairs of the state. Constitutional law concerns both the relationships between the executive, legislature and judiciary and the human rights or civil liberties of individuals against the state. Most jurisdictions, like the Law of the United States, United States and Law of France, France, have a single codified constitution with a bill of rights. A few, like the Law of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom, have no such document. A "constitution" is simply those laws which constitute the body politic, from
statuteA statute reffers to the body of law that are made by legislature of the nation with instrument which govern the state, country or any nation. it includes laws, rules and the reulation whichhas to be followed by each citizen in the county. A statute ...

statute
,
case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is called ...
and Constitutional convention (political custom), convention. A case named ''Entick v Carrington'' illustrates a constitutional principle deriving from the common law. Entick's house was searched and ransacked by Sheriff Carrington. When Entick complained in court, Sheriff Carrington argued that a warrant from a Government minister, the George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, Earl of Halifax, was valid authority. However, there was no written statutory provision or court authority. The leading judge, Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, Lord Camden, stated:
The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances, where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law for the good of the whole ... If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.
The fundamental constitutional principle, inspired by Two Treatises of Government, John Locke, holds that Everything which is not forbidden is allowed, the individual can do anything except that which is forbidden by law, and the state may do nothing except that which is authorised by law. Administrative law is the chief method for people to hold state bodies to account. People can sue an agency, local council, public service, or government ministry for judicial review of actions or decisions, to ensure that they comply with the law, and that the government entity observed required procedure. The first specialist administrative court was the ''Council of State (France), Conseil d'État'' set up in 1799, as Napoleon I of France, Napoleon assumed power in France.Auby, ''Administrative Law in France'', 75


Criminal law

Criminal law, also known as penal law, pertains to crimes and punishment. It thus regulates the definition of and penalties for offences found to have a sufficiently deleterious social impact but, in itself, makes no moral judgment on an offender nor imposes restrictions on society that physically prevent people from committing a crime in the first place.Brody, Acker and Logan, ''Criminal Law'', 2; Wilson, ''Criminal Law'', 2 Investigating, apprehending, charging, and trying suspected offenders is regulated by the law of criminal procedure.Dennis J. Baker, Glanville Williams ''Textbook of Criminal Law'' (London: 2012), 2 The paradigm case of a crime lies in the proof, Legal burden of proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that a person is guilty of two things. First, the accused must commit an act which is deemed by society to be criminal, or ''actus reus'' (guilty act). Second, the accused must have the requisite intention (criminal law), malicious intent to do a criminal act, or ''mens rea'' (guilty mind). However, for so called "Strict liability (criminal), strict liability" crimes, an ''actus reus'' is enough. Criminal systems of the civil law tradition distinguish between intention in the broad sense (''dolus directus'' and ''dolus eventualis''), and negligence. Negligence does not carry criminal responsibility unless a particular crime provides for its punishment. Examples of crimes include murder, assault, fraud and theft. In exceptional circumstances defences can apply to specific acts, such as killing in self-defense (theory), self defence, or pleading insanity defense, insanity. Another example is in the 19th-century English case of ''R v Dudley and Stephens'', which tested a defence of "necessity (criminal law), necessity". The ''Mignonette'', sailing from Southampton to Sydney, sank. Three crew members and Richard Parker, a 17-year-old cabin boy, were stranded on a raft. They were starving and the cabin boy was close to death. Driven to extreme hunger, the crew killed and ate the cabin boy. The crew survived and were rescued, but put on trial for murder. They argued it was necessary to kill the cabin boy to preserve their own lives. John Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge, Lord Coleridge, expressing immense disapproval, ruled, "to preserve one's life is generally speaking a duty, but it may be the plainest and the highest duty to sacrifice it." The men were sentenced to hanging, hang, but public opinion was overwhelmingly supportive of the crew's right to preserve their own lives. In the end, the Royal prerogative, Crown commuted their sentences to six months in jail. Criminal law offences are viewed as offences against not just individual victims, but the community as well. The state, usually with the help of police, takes the lead in prosecution, which is why in common law countries cases are cited as "''The People'' v ..." or "''R'' (for Monarchy, Rex or Queen regnant, Regina) v ...". Also, lay jury, juries are often used to determine the guilt of defendants on points of fact: juries cannot change legal rules. Some developed countries still condone capital punishment for criminal activity, but the normal punishment for a crime will be prison, imprisonment, fine (penalty), fines, state supervision (such as probation), or community service. Modern criminal law has been affected considerably by the social sciences, especially with respect to sentence (law), sentencing, legal research, legislation, and rehabilitation (penology), rehabilitation. On the international field, 111 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, members of the International Criminal Court, which was established to try people for crimes against humanity.


Contract law

Contract law concerns enforceable promises, and can be summed up in the Latin phrase ''pacta sunt servanda'' (agreements must be kept). In common law jurisdictions, three key elements to the creation of a contract are necessary: offer and acceptance, consideration and the intention to create legal relations. In ''Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company'' a medical firm advertised that its new wonder drug, the smokeball, would cure people's flu, and if it did not, the buyers would get pound sterling, £100. Many people sued for their £100 when the drug did not work. Fearing bankruptcy, Carbolic argued the advert was not to be taken as a serious, legally binding offer. It was an invitation to treat, mere puffery, a gimmick. But the Court of Appeal held that to a reasonable man Carbolic had made a serious offer, accentuated by their reassuring statement, "£1000 is deposited". Equally, people had given good consideration for the offer by going to the "distinct inconvenience" of using a faulty product. "Read the advertisement how you will, and twist it about as you will", said Nathaniel Lindley, Baron Lindley, Lord Justice Lindley, "here is a distinct promise expressed in language which is perfectly unmistakable".About
Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company
'' Case citation, [1893] 1 QB 256, and the element of consideration, see Beale and Tallon, ''Contract Law'', 142–143
Consideration indicates the fact that all parties to a contract have exchanged something of value. Some common law systems, including Australia, are moving away from the idea of consideration as a requirement. The idea of estoppel or ''culpa in contrahendo'', can be used to create obligations during pre-contractual negotiations. Civil law jurisdictions treat contracts differently in a number of respects, with a more interventionist role for the state in both the formation and enforcement of contracts. Compared to common law jurisdictions, civil law systems incorporate more mandatory terms into contracts, allow greater latitude for courts to interpret and revise contract terms and impose a stronger Good faith (law), duty of good faith, but are also more likely to enforce penalty clauses and specific performance of contracts. They also do not require consideration for a contract to be binding. In France, an ordinary contract is said to form simply on the basis of a "meeting of the minds" or a "concurrence of wills". Law of Germany, Germany has a special approach to contracts, which ties into property law. Their 'abstraction principle (law), abstraction principle' (''Abstraktionsprinzip'') means that the personal obligation of contract forms separately from the title of property being conferred. When contracts are invalidated for some reason (e.g. a car buyer is so drunk that he lacks legal capacity to contract) the contractual obligation to pay can be invalidated separately from the proprietary title of the car. Unjust enrichment law, rather than contract law, is then used to restore title to the rightful owner.


Torts and delicts

Certain civil wrongs are grouped together as torts under common law systems and delicts under civil law systems. To have acted tortiously, one must have breached a duty to another person, or infringed some pre-existing legal right. A simple example might be accidentally hitting someone with a cricket ball. Under the law of negligence, the most common form of tort, the injured party could potentially claim compensation for their injuries from the party responsible. The principles of negligence are illustrated by ''Donoghue v Stevenson''.''Donoghue v Stevenson'' (Case citation#England and Wales, [1932] A.C. 532, 1932 S.C. (H.L.) 31, [1932] All ER Rep 1). See the original text of the case i
UK Law Online
.
A friend of Donoghue ordered an opaque bottle of ginger beer (intended for the consumption of Donoghue) in a café in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Paisley. Having consumed half of it, Donoghue poured the remainder into a tumbler. The decomposing remains of a snail floated out. She claimed to have suffered from shock, fell ill with gastroenteritis and sued the manufacturer for carelessly allowing the drink to be contaminated. The House of Lords decided that the manufacturer was liable for Mrs Donoghue's illness. Lord Atkin took a distinctly moral approach and said:
The liability for negligence [...] is no doubt based upon a general public sentiment of moral wrongdoing for which the offender must pay. [...] The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law, you must not injure your neighbour; and the
lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in everyday speech to attorney, is the preferred term for a practising lawyer in certain jurisdiction ...

lawyer
's question, Who is my neighbour? receives a restricted reply. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour.
This became the basis for the four principles of negligence, namely that (1) Stevenson owed Donoghue a duty of care to provide safe drinks; (2) he Breach of duty in English law, breached his duty of care; (3) the harm would not have occurred Causation (law), but for his breach; and (4) his act was the proximate cause of her harm. Another example of tort might be a neighbour making excessively loud noises with machinery on his property.''Sturges v Bridgman'' (1879) 11 Ch D 852 Under a nuisance claim the noise could be stopped. Torts can also involve intentional acts such as Assault (tort), assault, Battery (tort), battery or trespass. A better known tort is slander and libel, defamation, which occurs, for example, when a newspaper makes unsupportable allegations that damage a politician's reputation. More infamous are economic torts, which form the basis of labour law in some countries by making trade unions liable for strikes, when statute does not provide immunity.


Property law

Property law governs ownership and possession. Real property, sometimes called 'real estate', refers to ownership of land and things attached to it. Personal property, refers to everything else; movable objects, such as computers, cars, jewelry or intangible rights, such as Share (finance), stocks and shares. A right ''in rem'' is a right to a specific piece of property, contrasting to a right ''in personam'' which allows compensation for a loss, but not a particular thing back. Land law forms the basis for most kinds of property law, and is the most complex. It concerns Mortgage law, mortgages, Leasehold estate, rental agreements, license, licences, Covenant (law), covenants, easements and the statutory systems for land registration. Regulations on the use of personal property fall under intellectual property, company (law), company law, Trust law, trusts and
commercial law Commercial law, also known as mercantile law or trade law, is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A sys ...
. An example of a basic case of most property law is ''Armory v Delamirie'' [1722]. A chimney sweep's boy found a jewel encrusted with precious stones. He took it to a goldsmith to have it valued. The goldsmith's apprentice looked at it, sneakily removed the stones, told the boy it was worth three Halfpenny (British coin), halfpence and that he would buy it. The boy said he would prefer the jewel back, so the apprentice gave it to him, but without the stones. The boy sued the goldsmith for his apprentice's attempt to cheat him. Lord Chief Justice Pratt ruled that even though the boy could not be said to own the jewel, he should be considered the rightful keeper ("finders keepers") until the original owner is found. In fact the apprentice and the boy both had a right of ''Possession (law), possession'' in the jewel (a technical concept, meaning evidence that something ''could'' belong to someone), but the boy's possessory interest was considered better, because it could be shown to be first in time. Possession may be nine-tenths of the law, but not all. This case is used to support the view of property in common law jurisdictions, that the person who can show the best claim to a piece of property, against any contesting party, is the owner. By contrast, the classic civil law approach to property, propounded by Friedrich Carl von Savigny, is that it is a right good against the world. Obligations, like contracts and torts, are conceptualised as rights good between individuals. The idea of property raises many further philosophical and political issues. Locke argued that our "lives, liberties and estates" are our property because we own our bodies and Labour theory of property, mix our labour with our surroundings.


Equity and trusts

Equity is a body of rules that developed in England separately from the "common law". The common law was administered by judges and barristers. The
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in England in the United Kingdom, nominally outranking the Prime Minist ...
on the other hand, as the King's keeper of conscience, could overrule the judge-made law if he thought it equitable to do so. This meant equity came to operate more through
principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political or personal control by someone with authority or power * Busin ...
than rigid rules. Whereas neither the common law nor civil law systems allow people to split the ownership from the control of one piece of property, equity allows this through an arrangement known as a trust. Trustees control property whereas the beneficial, or equitable, ownership of trust property is held by people known as beneficiaries. Trustees owe duties to their beneficiaries to take good care of the entrusted property. In the early case of ''Keech v Sandford'' [1722], a child had inherited the lease on a Romford Market, market in Romford, London. Mr Sandford was entrusted to look after this property until the child matured. But before then, the lease expired. The landlord had (apparently) told Mr Sandford that he did not want the child to have the renewed lease. Yet the landlord was happy (apparently) to give Mr Sandford the opportunity of the lease instead. Mr Sandford took it. When the child (now Mr Keech) grew up, he sued Mr Sandford for the profit that he had been making by getting the market's lease. Mr Sandford was meant to be trusted, but he put himself in a position of conflict of interest. The
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in England in the United Kingdom, nominally outranking the Prime Minist ...
, Peter King, 1st Baron King, Lord King, agreed and ordered Mr Sandford should disgorge his profits. He wrote: "I very well see, if a trustee, on the refusal to renew, might have a lease to himself few trust-estates would be renewed. [...] This may seem very hard, that the trustee is the only person of all mankind who might not have the lease; but it is very proper that the rule should be strictly pursued and not at all relaxed." Lord King LC was worried that trustees might exploit opportunities to use trust property for themselves instead of looking after it. Business speculators using trusts had just recently caused a South Sea Bubble, stock market crash. Strict duties for trustees made their way into company law and were applied to directors and chief executive officers. Another example of a trustee's duty might be to invest property wisely or sell it. This is especially the case for pension funds, the most important form of trust, where investors are trustees for people's savings until retirement. But trusts can also be set up for Charitable trust, charitable purposes, famous examples being the British Museum or the Rockefeller Foundation.


Further disciplines

Law spreads far beyond the core subjects into virtually every area of life. Three categories are presented for convenience, although the subjects intertwine and overlap. ; Law and society * Labour law is the study of a tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union. This involves collective bargaining regulation, and the right to strike. Individual employment law refers to workplace rights, such as job security, Occupational safety and health, health and safety or a minimum wage. * Human rights, Civil and political rights, civil rights and human rights law are important fields to guarantee everyone basic freedoms and entitlements. These are laid down in codes such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights (which founded the European Court of Human Rights) and the United States Bill of Rights, U.S. Bill of Rights. The Treaty of Lisbon makes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union legally binding in all member states Opt-outs in the European Union#Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union – Poland and the United Kingdom, except Poland and the United Kingdom. * Civil procedure and criminal procedure concern the rules that courts must follow as a trial and appeals proceed. Both concern a citizen's right to a fair trial or hearing. * Evidence (law), Evidence law involves which materials are admissible in courts for a case to be built. * Immigration law and nationality law concern the rights of foreigners to live and work in a nation-state that is not their own and to acquire or lose citizenship. Both also involve the right of asylum and the problem of statelessness, stateless individuals. * Social security law refers to the rights people have to social insurance, such as jobseekers' allowances or housing benefits. * Family law covers marriage and divorce proceedings, the rights of children and rights to property and money in the event of separation. * Transactional law is the practice of law concerning business and money. ; Law and commerce * Company law sprang from the law of trusts, on the principle of separating ownership of property and control. The law of the modern company (law), company began with the Joint Stock Companies Act 1856, passed in the United Kingdom, which provided investors with a simple registration procedure to gain limited liability under the Juristic person, separate legal personality of the corporation. * Commercial law covers complex contract and property law. The law of Sgency (law), agency, insurance law, Negotiable instrument, bills of exchange, insolvency and bankruptcy law and sales law are all important, and trace back to the medieval ''Law Merchant, Lex Mercatoria''. The UK Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the US Uniform Commercial Code are examples of codified common law commercial principles. * Admiralty law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, sea law lay a basic framework for free trade and commerce across the world's oceans and seas, where outside of a country's zone of control. Shipping companies operate through ordinary principles of commercial law, generalised for a global market. Admiralty law also encompasses specialised issues such as marine salvage, salvage, Lien#Maritime liens, maritime liens, and injuries to passengers. * Intellectual property law aims at safeguarding creators and other producers of intellectual goods and services. These are legal rights (copyrights, trademarks, patents, and related rights) which result from intellectual activity in the industrial, literary and artistic fields. * Restitution deals with the recovery of someone else's gain, rather than Damages, compensation for one's own loss. * Unjust enrichment When someone has been unjustly enriched (or there is an "absence of basis" for a transaction) at another's expense, this event generates the right to restitution to reverse that gain. * Space law is a relatively new field dealing with aspects of international law regarding human activities in Earth orbit and outer space. While at first addressing space relations of countries via treaties, increasingly it is addressing areas such as commercialization of space, space commercialisation, property, liability, and other issues. ; Law and regulation * Tax law involves regulations that concern value added tax, corporate tax, and income tax. * Bank regulation, Banking law and financial regulation set minimum standards on the amounts of capital banks must hold, and rules about best practice for investment. This is to insure against the risk of economic crises, such as the Wall Street Crash of 1929. * Regulation deals with the provision of public services and utilities. Water law is one example. Especially since privatisation became popular and took management of services away from public law, private companies doing the jobs previously controlled by government have been bound by varying degrees of social responsibility. Energy policy, Energy, Ofgem, gas, telecommunication policy, telecomms and water law, water are regulated industries in most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD countries. * Competition law, known in the United States as antitrust law, is an evolving field that traces as far back as Ancient Rome, Roman decrees against price fixing and the English restraint of trade doctrine. Modern competition law derives from the U.S. anti-cartel and anti-monopoly statutes (the Sherman Act and Clayton Act) of the turn of the 20th century. It is used to control businesses who attempt to use their economic influence to distort market prices at the expense of consumer welfare. * Consumer protection, Consumer law could include anything from regulations on unfair contractual terms and clauses to directives on airline baggage insurance. * Environmental law is increasingly important, especially in light of the Kyoto Protocol and the potential danger of climate change. Environmental protection also serves to penalise pollution, polluters within domestic legal systems. * Aviation law deals with all regulations and technical standards applicable to the safe operation of aircraft, and is an essential part both of pilots' training and pilot's operations. Non adherence to Air Law regulations and standards renders a flight operation illegal. It is framed by national civil aviation acts (or laws), themselves mostly aligned with the recommendations or mandatory standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization, International Civil Aviation Organisation or ICAO. Regulations are often abbreviated as CARS and standards as CATS. They constantly evolve in order to adapt to new technologies or science (for example in medical protocols which pilots have to adhere to in order to be fit to fly or hold a license).


Intersection with other fields


Economics

In the 18th century, Adam Smith presented a philosophical foundation for explaining the relationship between law and economics. The discipline arose partly out of a critique of trade unions and U.S. antitrust law. The most influential proponents, such as Richard Posner and Oliver E. Williamson, Oliver Williamson and the so-called Chicago school (economics), Chicago School of economists and lawyers including Milton Friedman and Gary Becker, are generally advocates of deregulation and privatisation, and are hostile to state regulation or what they see as restrictions on the operation of free markets. The most prominent economic analyst of law is 1991 Nobel Prize in Economics, Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase, whose first major article, ''The Nature of the Firm'' (1937), argued that the reason for the existence of firms (companies, partnerships, etc.) is the existence of transaction costs. Homo economicus, Rational individuals trade through bilateral contracts on open markets until the costs of transactions mean that using corporations to produce things is more cost-effective. His second major article, ''The Problem of Social Cost'' (1960), argued that if we lived in a world without transaction costs, people would bargaining, bargain with one another to create the same allocation of resources, regardless of the way a court might rule in property disputes. Coase used the example of a nuisance case named ''Sturges v Bridgman'', where a noisy sweetmaker and a quiet doctor were neighbours and went to court to see who should have to move. Coase said that regardless of whether the judge ruled that the sweetmaker had to stop using his machinery, or that the doctor had to put up with it, they could strike a mutually beneficial bargain about who moves that reaches the same outcome of resource distribution. Only the existence of transaction costs may prevent this. So the law ought to pre-empt what ''would'' happen, and be guided by the most efficiency (economics), efficient solution. The idea is that law and regulation are not as important or effective at helping people as lawyers and government planners believe. Coase and others like him wanted a change of approach, to put the burden of proof for positive effects on a government that was intervening in the market, by analysing the costs of action.


Sociology

Sociology of law is a diverse field of study that examines the interaction of law with society and overlaps with jurisprudence, philosophy of law, social theory and more specialised subjects such as criminology.Cotterrell, ''Sociology of Law'', Jary, ''Collins Dictionary of Sociology'', 636 The institutions of social construction, social norms, dispute processing and legal culture are key areas for inquiry in this knowledge field. Sociology of law is sometimes seen as a sub-discipline of sociology, but its ties to the academic discipline of law are equally strong, and it is best seen as a transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study focused on the theorisation and empirical study of legal practices and experiences as social phenomena. In the United States the field is usually called law and society studies; in Europe it is more often referred to as socio-legal studies. At first, jurists and legal philosophers were suspicious of sociology of law. Kelsen attacked one of its founders, Eugen Ehrlich, who sought to make clear the differences and connections between positive law, which lawyers learn and apply, and other forms of 'law' or social norms that regulate everyday life, generally preventing conflicts from reaching barristers and courts. Contemporary research in sociology of law is much concerned with the way that law is developing outside discrete state jurisdictions, being produced through social interaction in many different kinds of social arenas, and acquiring a diversity of sources of (often competing or conflicting) authority in communal networks existing sometimes within nation states but increasingly also transnationally. Around 1900
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German sociologist, historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a pe ...

Max Weber
defined his "scientific" approach to law, identifying the "legal rational form" as a type of domination, not attributable to personal authority but to the authority of abstract norms. Formal legal rationality was his term for the key characteristic of the kind of coherent and calculable law that was a precondition for modern political developments and the modern bureaucratic state. Weber saw this law as having developed in parallel with the growth of capitalism. Another leading sociologist, Émile Durkheim, wrote in his classic work ''The Division of Labour in Society'' that as society becomes more complex, the body of civil law concerned primarily with restitution and compensation grows at the expense of criminal laws and penal sanctions. Other notable early legal sociologists included Hugo Sinzheimer, Theodor Geiger, Georges Gurvitch and Leon Petrażycki in Europe, and William Graham Sumner in the U.S.Papachristou, ''Sociology of Law'', 81–82


See also

* By-law * Law dictionary * Legal research in the United States * Legal treatise * Natural law * Political science * Public interest law * Social law * Translating "law" to other European languages


References


Citations


Sources

; Printed sources * * * * * See original text i
Perseus program
* Barzilai, Gad (2003), ''Communities and Law: Politics and Cultures of Legal Identities''. The University of Michigan Press, 2003. Second print 2005 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Hamilton, Michael S., and George W. Spiro (2008). ''The Dynamics of Law'', 4th ed. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc. . * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Silvestri, Paolo, "The ideal of good government in Luigi Einaudi’s Thought and Life: Between Law and Freedom"
in Paolo Heritier, Paolo Silvestri (Eds.), Good government, Governance, Human complexity. Luigi Einaudi's legacy and contemporary societies, Leo Olschki, Firenze, 2012, pp. 55–95. ; Online sources * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


DRAGNET: Search of free legal databases from New York Law School

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AustLII – Australasian Legal Information Institute

BaiLII – British and Irish Legal Information Institute

CanLII – Canadian Legal Information Institute

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SAfLII – Southern African Legal Information Institute
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