Often described as the “art of justice,” law is a system of rules enforceable by governmental institutions. Laws can serve to keep peace within a nation, to preserve individual rights, and to provide orderly social change. Laws are sometimes created by the executive branch, while others are created by the legislature. Some legal systems serve these purposes better than others. The legal system of a nation varies greatly from one country to the next.
A legal issue arises when a person is accused of a crime, or a problem at work or at home causes the individual to seek justice. The outcome of the case depends on the court’s interpretation of the law. Common issues include immigration, consumer rights, and housing issues. Law can also be defined as the rules that govern the social and economic relations of people.
Laws are created to protect the interests of minorities, maintain the status quo, and promote social justice. Laws can be classified into three categories: statute, regulation, and agency. A statute means a law enacted by a legislative body. A regulation refers to a rule imposed by an authority, and an agency refers to the governmental bodies that implement the regulation. Laws can also be classified as civil law, criminal law, and transactional law.
A common law system is a legal system that acknowledges the decision of a court as “law.” Law is also defined as the rules that govern social relationships. In modern legal systems, many of the characteristics of the common law system are shared. For example, common law systems include the doctrine of precedent, which means that a court’s decision is binding on other courts. Common law legal systems also recognize the importance of the executive branch and its decisions.
A civil law system includes a judicial system, as well as legislative and administrative statutes. These systems are generally less complex than those in the common law system. In some systems, judges are only writing to decide one case.
A state-enforced law can be created by the executive branch, by the legislature, or by the group legislature. State-enforced laws can also be created by the executive branch through decrees. Laws can also be created by a group legislature, by a single legislator, or by a state-sponsored agency.
A commercial law system includes law governing businesses, contracts, and the sale of goods. It also includes laws that regulate the financial industry, such as banking and tax law. A civil law system includes law governing the relationships between communities and partnerships. Laws governing marriage, divorce, and family relationships are also part of the civil law system. Laws governing money, property, and intellectual property are also part of the civil law system.
A religious law system is based on religious precepts, which often provide the basis for further law. Examples of religious law include Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia. Some church communities have adopted Christian canon law, which provides a basis for further law.