Law is a set of rules enforceable by social institutions. It shapes our political and economic lives. The word “law” carries a wide range of meanings, but in general, it refers to the rules that are enforceable by governmental, judicial, and regulatory institutions. These include contracts, laws, and regulations. There are two main types of legal systems, civil and common law.
Civil law refers to a system of judicial decisions and legislative statutes. This type of law is typically less detailed. Common law is a legal system that is explicitly based on the principles of precedent. Precedent means that the judicial decisions of higher courts bind lower courts to follow these decisions in the future.
Unlike common law, civil law is not subject to a rigid set of laws, which is why it can be viewed as more flexible. However, the practice of law is usually regulated by government or a professional regulating body. In some countries, such as the United States, the practice of law is overseen by a governing body called the Supreme Court or Court of Justice.
Civil procedure is a subcategory of law that deals with the rules of courts. These are not merely the rules of the courtroom but also the rules that govern the provision of public services and utilities. They can also cover evidence and admissible materials in the courtroom.
Among the various subjects covered by regulation are energy, water, and telecomms. Regulation also covers tax laws, corporate taxes, and value added taxes. Some industries are regulated by the federal government, such as gas and electricity. Others are regulated by state governments.
Another type of regulation is financial regulation, which sets a minimum standard for banks and other financial institutions. Financial regulation includes regulations on how much capital a bank or other financial institution should have. Other examples of regulation include the Vietnam Era Veterans Act, which requires health care employers to develop diversity goals.
Another important aspect of law is the concept of natural law. The term traces back to ancient Greek philosophy, but it also entered mainstream culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas. As a result, the definition of law in many countries today is influenced by religion. Often, the religious basis of the law implies that God’s word is unchangeable.
Another major issue in the legal world is immigration. Legal issues pertaining to immigration include rights of foreigners to reside and work in a nation-state. Healthcare, LGBTQ rights, voting, and environmental concerns are also key issues in the upcoming years.
Depending on the country, legislation on these topics can be enacted by a group legislature or by a single legislator. The government or the executive branch of the government can also create these laws through decrees or other administrative procedures.
For example, the Joint Stock Companies Act 1856 created a separate legal personality for corporations. That gave investors limited liability. Meanwhile, anti-cartel statutes were enacted at the turn of the twentieth century.