Often referred to as the science of law, law is a set of rules and laws that are enforced by social institutions and government. It shapes society, history and politics, and it has been described as the mediator of relations between people. Various approaches to law have been developed throughout history.
One of the earliest definitions of law came from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who described law as “the moral laws of nature.” He argued that law is a moral and social system. In the early 18th century, common law, or law in the common sense, became rigid and inflexible. Increasing numbers of citizens petitioned the King to override this rigid system. Law has spread into virtually every area of life.
Several different kinds of laws have evolved over time, including commercial law, labour law and personal property law. These laws cover issues such as the rights of individuals to use a particular piece of property, rights of the government to collect taxes on the use of a piece of property, and regulations on unfair contractual terms. Personal property also includes intangible rights, such as intellectual property.
Other legal systems are more detailed and require more human elaboration. These systems can be separated into common law and civil law. Common law systems explicitly acknowledge that the decisions of courts are law, whereas civil law systems are less detailed and require less judicial decision-making. In common law systems, there is the doctrine of precedent, meaning that the decisions of higher courts bind lower courts to the same decision.
Common law legal systems also use the concept of analogy, a way to determine the proper interpretation of a law. In one common example, a young boy was given possession of a jewel. The court decided that the boy should be regarded as the rightful keeper until the original owner was found. However, the perfect case may be reversed.
Law also forms the basis for the political system of a country. Law has shaped society in many ways, including the creation of constitutional documents. It has also shaped history by shaping political, economic, and social institutions. In modern times, accountability has also been a problem, especially in countries with a powerful military and modern policing powers.
Legal issues arise from unexpected events, problems at work or in the family, or planned events. A person may have a legal issue even if they don’t know they have one. This issue may be the basis for a lawsuit or for a legal decision to be made by a court. Often, a person will need to hire a lawyer to handle the case.
Modern legal systems share many of the features of common law. These include the doctrine of precedent, the existence of a legal syllogism, and the practice of argumentative theories. The practice of law is generally regulated by the government, and it is usually overseen by an independent regulating body.
Law also shapes the economic world by regulating the industries of gas, oil, telecomms, and other utilities. It also has an important impact on the environmental world. Many countries have environmental laws. In some countries, environmental protection serves to penalize polluters. It also has a role in regulating public services, such as water.