Law is a set of rules that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It is an important part of political, economic, and historical processes, and it serves as a mediator between people.
There are several types of laws: state-enforced laws, private contracts, and the rights encoded in a constitution. Various kinds of laws are found in different regions, and the precise definition of law is a matter of long-standing debate.
Types of Law
There is a vast array of legal systems, with each having its own unique history and cultural roots. Some are based on Roman or Germanic concepts, categories, and rules, others on local custom and culture, and some still influenced by religion.
Civil Law (also called continental law) is a legal tradition that covers about 60% of the world, and is based on concepts and categories derived from Roman law with some influence from canon law. It places emphasis on individual freedom and promotes cooperation among humans.
Common Law (also called statutory law) is a legal system characterized by statutes, decrees and regulations, and judicial decisions that are explicitly acknowledged as “law.” The “doctrine of precedent” (Latin for “to stand by”) binds lower courts to a higher court’s decision, to assure that similar cases reach similar results.
Religious law is based on religious precepts, sometimes explicitly codified. Examples of religious law include Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia.
Justification is an element of legal theory that determines whether certain norms are valid. Some Hohfeldian positions, such as claim-rights and privileges, are active, determining what parties may do or may not do; others, such as powers and immunities, are passive, determining what parties may not do.