Law is the set of rules that governs the behavior of the people in a society. It can also refer to a profession in which a person specializes in law. Whether it is criminal or civil, law aims at protecting the rights of individuals, maintaining social order and promoting social justice. Various legal systems exist in the world, each serving different purposes.
Common law is the body of laws that are written and enforced by governmental and judicial institutions. It is a system of rules that is widely understood and publicized. The rules are based on specific facts and procedures. However, they are not fully defined. Consequently, they can be adjusted by judicial decision, through creative jurisprudence.
A civil law system is usually less detailed and shorter. It is a judicial system that is primarily composed of legislation. It is influenced by a rich academic doctrine. This is the primary source of law in the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australia. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom and France, the word “law” is used to refer to the entire collection of government-enforced laws.
Unlike common law, which has a single governing body, a civil law system can be governed by various governmental authorities. These include the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. In some jurisdictions, all three of these governmental bodies can make laws, while in others, only one can. They may be made by the executive through decrees and statutes, or by the legislative body through statutes. Regardless of who makes the laws, the laws must be publicly promulgated and equally enforced.
Law is a field of study that shapes society, history, economics, and politics. It also ensures procedural and property rights. Hence, it is an essential component of governance.
A common law system is distinguished from a civil law system in that it explicitly acknowledges the decisions of courts as “law.” The latter only applies to a particular case, while the former is written in a more abstract manner.
In addition to its traditional applications, the word “law” has been used to define a variety of other activities. Some of these include the application of the eminent domain, which enables governments to take private property without the owner’s consent. Another example is the regulation of water and gas industries.
Law is divided into several categories, including the civil law, the primarily legislative, and the religious. Legal systems vary depending on the country, but in general, the modern legal system shares some features with common law.
The primarily legislative system expresses rights and duties through legislation, and allows for the judicial adjustment of rules. It is also accessible to citizens and codified. Depending on the constitution and culture of a society, the laws are made to address specific issues.
Lastly, religion provides further law through the Quran and Ijma. Both the Quran and Ijma act as sources of further law through analogy and consensus. Religious law includes Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia.