Law is the set of rules that governmental institutions and social organizations enforce. It is a system of rules that governs social relationships and orderly social change. This may include the rules governing criminal law, business transactions, or immigration. Some legal systems serve these purposes better than others.
Legal issues arise when someone has been accused of a crime, when problems occur at work, or when people have family issues. These cases can be heard in state or federal courts. A court may decide the legal issue based on evidence such as testimony, exhibits, or documents. Sometimes a court will decide to postpone the trial until another time. Other times, a temporary restraining order will be issued until a hearing can take place.
In some jurisdictions, the term “law” may be used interchangeably with the term “case law.” However, it is important to distinguish between the two. Case law refers to a collection of precedents that can be used to determine how to apply the laws of a particular jurisdiction. Unlike statutes, which are written in a non-abstract format, case law is a compilation of actual facts and regulations that govern the practice of law in a certain jurisdiction.
Common law is a legal system that focuses on the principles of precedent. The doctrine of precedent means that the decisions of higher courts are binding on lower courts. Thus, a case can be appealed to a higher court if the lower court’s decision is not in accordance with a prior precedent.
One common method of determining what constitutes the law is to examine the concept of “natural law.” This concept originated in ancient Greek philosophy and reemerged in mainstream culture with the writings of Thomas Aquinas. According to the concept, “natural law” is a source of further law through logical reasoning and analogy.
A common law legal system acknowledges decisions made by the executive branch of government, and the doctrine of precedent is one way to determine what is considered “law.” For example, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law is considered the “law of the land.”
As the name suggests, a common law legal system is more basic than a civil law legal system. These systems involve less detail in judicial decisions, and they require human elaboration.
A modern lawyer must hold a degree in law, such as a Juris Doctor. He or she must also pass a qualifying examination before being certified to practice law in the United States. Additionally, a modern lawyer must be able to demonstrate a distinct professional identity.
An important part of access to justice is the legal profession. Lawyers are responsible for representing the plaintiff and defendant in a case. They are generally regulated by the government and must be qualified.
When a defendant is accused of a crime, he or she is brought to court and asked to plead guilty or not guilty. If a court finds the defendant guilty, he or she will be sentenced to jail or prison. Alternatively, a court may grant a probationary sentence.