Generally speaking, law is a set of rules that governs the relationships between individuals and social institutions. These rules are enforced by governmental institutions or by private individuals. Law can be divided into three main categories: criminal law, civil law and regulatory law. The latter includes rules governing utilities and provision of public services. These include regulation of water, energy and telecoms.
Law is a political science and a scientific discipline. It shapes our social life, our history, and our economics. It is governed by constitutions and laws. Some of the key areas of law are property law, criminal law, tax law, immigration law, family law, and labour law.
Law is a complex and rapidly changing field. Legal issues may arise in unexpected circumstances. They may be related to family problems, sudden events, planned events, issues with money, or problems at work. Usually, a legal issue involves a question or a problem that requires a court decision. Law may also involve a dispute between parties, such as when a person is accused of a crime.
Law is generally practiced by a professional, often referred to as a lawyer. Legal practitioners generally require a legal degree, which may be a Bachelor of Laws or a Master of Legal Studies. Some legal professionals have higher degrees, including a Doctor of Law or a Bar Professional Training Course. Law firms and lawyers also have a professional identity and are typically monitored by a government or an independent regulating body.
Law is also called the “art of justice” because it serves as a mediator in the relationship between individuals. In this regard, legal systems vary in their methods of reasoning and interpreting the law. Some systems use argumentative theories, while others use more sophisticated systems of interpretation.
Common law legal systems include the doctrine of precedent. This means that a decision made by a higher court binds future decisions made by lower courts. In addition, courts of equity developed a solid body of equity under Lord Eldon.
Civil law legal systems are less complex and involve judicial decisions. These systems can be divided into legislative statutes and judicial decisions. The differences between common law and civil law legal systems are largely in the ways that judicial decisions are made.
In general, civil law systems involve less detailed judicial decisions and more detailed legislative statutes. Some of these systems include a rule of law (legal syllogism) and an analogy.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the primary dispute settlement organ of the United Nations. It was founded in 1946 and has issued advisory opinions and judgments in over 170 cases. In addition, it has referred six cases to special chambers for further consideration.
Currently, the United Nations is involved in many legal issues that involve the global dimension. Some of these include international humanitarian law, human rights law, migrant labour regulation, curbing drug trafficking, and environmental protection. The General Assembly is also involved in law and the Charter of the United Nations calls on the Organization to promote progressive development of international law.