Understanding the Basics of Law
Law is a body of rules that governs the interaction of people. It serves as a guide for society, politics, and economics. A legal system may be categorized by its civil, common law, or criminal laws.
In the United States, law is governed by the Constitution, which has the power to create individual rights and limit the authority of federal agencies. State courts are also empowered to invalidate any federal law that they believe conflicts with the Constitution. Federal question cases can be brought in federal courts, whereas state court questions are primarily heard in state courts.
The definition of law is frequently disputed, but the term typically implies a set of moral rules that governs human behavior. Law is divided into three categories: personal, commercial, and civil.
Personal property refers to movable objects, including land, money, and intellectual property. Commercial law deals with business and property issues. Various industries are regulated, such as energy and telecomms. There are also various religious law systems. Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia are two examples.
Civil law is a less detailed type of law that focuses on judicial decisions. A legal system is made up of a series of statutes, rules, and court decisions. A court of appeals usually sits in a panel of three judges. Appeals are filed when the defendant believes that the trial court erred in procedure or decision.
Common law is a legal system that explicitly acknowledges the decisions of courts as “law.” For example, a defendant is required to plead guilty or not guilty, and a verdict is a judge’s official judgment. Moreover, a defendant can petition the Supreme Court for a review of a lower court’s decision.
The common law legal system has developed from a tradition of utilitarian theories. These theories have held sway in law until the 20th century, when the concepts of justice and natural law reemerged in mainstream culture.
Among the various types of law, there are three distinct classes of civil law: legislative statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions. Administrative law consists of laws affecting public services. While some laws are enacted by federal agencies, such as water law, others are imposed by a single legislator or group of lawmakers.
Commercial law covers areas such as contract law and property law. It is based on the doctrine of precedent, meaning that future decisions of the same court will generally bind lower courts. Property law is composed of land, real estate, and mortgages.
Similarly, the civil legal system consists of laws that govern the rules of the courts and social institutions. Typically, a lawyer must be a member of the Bar Professional Training Course or have a degree in law. However, a higher academic qualification, such as a Master of Legal Studies, is necessary for a lawyer to be considered professional.
Finally, religious law is defined as a set of religious precepts, or a consensus of religious opinions, that governs the practice of law. Religiously based laws, such as Islamic Sharia, are often used to guide the practice of law.