The Basics of Law

Law is a set of rules that are enforceable by social institutions, such as courts and governments. It is designed to protect individuals from abuse and promote social justice.

Law can be divided into common law and civil law. The former refers to the legal systems of the United States, Europe and some other countries. The latter consists of judicial decisions, legislative statutes, and statutory interpretations.

The modern lawyer requires a bachelor’s degree and a special qualification. He or she must pass the qualifying examination and obtain a Juris Doctor degree.

The two major legal systems are based on a set of principles and practices that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Both have argumentative theories that make statutory interpretation possible.

The doctrine of precedent means that judicial decisions made by a higher court bind lower courts. This is different from persuasive precedent, which implies that a ruling is binding but not absolute.

Law is used to shape politics, economics, history, and society. It also serves to maintain a status quo. Some legal systems do these tasks better than others.

Historically, the concept of “natural law” emerged in ancient Greek philosophy. It later entered mainstream culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas. However, utilitarian theories remained dominant in the field of law until the twentieth century.

Today, the common law legal system explicitly acknowledges judicial decisions as “law.” This includes the doctrine of precedent. The age of a decision, the closeness of the facts to the issue, and the persuasiveness of the previous decision all affect the authority of the case in common law.