The Basics of Law


Law is a set of rules that are enforced through social or governmental institutions to ensure that individuals and communities adhere to a set of standards. Laws may be imposed by collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes; by the executive, through decrees and regulations; or by the courts, through the doctrine of precedent (or stare decisis), normally in common law jurisdictions. Laws can also be created by private parties through contracts.

Legal systems vary widely across the world, with differences arising in a number of ways. Some of the most important factors include the extent to which people face legal consequences for wrongdoing, whether core human and procedural rights are enshrined in law, how much transparency surrounds government activity, and the degree to which transition of power is subject to law. In addition, many laws are culturally or historically specific, reflecting a particular set of values and norms.

The study of law is a rich field for philosophical inquiry. Philosophy of law can range from the purely analytical to the more practical, with scholars studying a wide variety of issues related to legal history, ethics and sociology. A number of schools of thought exist, including jurisprudence, utilitarianism, libertarianism, and structuralism.

A legal article is a written document that describes certain aspects of the law in a clear and understandable manner. Those who write articles in the field of law can be lawyers, judges or even academics. Anyone with a pragmatic mindset and the will to explore the issues systematically can write an excellent legal article.

While there is no single legal article format, the typical legal article contains a summary of relevant laws and their application to real-life situations. In addition, it often includes an analysis of existing legal doctrine or possibilities for reforms. It is also common for the author to provide citations and references to support his or her arguments.

In some jurisdictions, law is derived from religious precepts, such as the Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia. Other laws are based on a body of cases decided by judges, through the application of constitutional principles and the doctrine of stare decisis. In other jurisdictions, civil and criminal law are merged into a single code, such as the Napoleonic Code or German Civil Code. Other laws, such as the law of international waters or space law, are relatively new and largely address matters of a transnational nature that cross national boundaries. However, most areas of the law are confined to domestic jurisdictions.