Law is a set of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It serves many purposes, including establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. Law also is the basis of a variety of professions, including legal, political, and military careers.
Legal systems vary greatly from country to country and sometimes within a single nation. However, they do have some similarities based on historically accepted justice ideals. In addition, some countries use multiple systems at the same time to create hybrid systems.
For example, in the United States, the federal government has civil and criminal law, and courts have rules governing their administration and procedures as well as laws regarding evidence, bankruptcy, and appeals. There are also state-level courts and local governments with similar structures and laws.
Judges are judicial officials who decide lawsuits brought before the courts. They may have specialized training in certain areas, such as family, criminal, or civil law. Other court personnel include clerks of court, paralegals, and investigators. A judge’s decision in a case is called a judgment. The judgment determines the right and claims of each party to a dispute. A judgment is valid if it has been given in accordance with the law, or if it has been validated by other legal authority such as precedent or other court decisions. A judge can make a ruling without a hearing in cases of alleged felonies or other serious crimes, if the prosecutor has adequate evidence to support the allegations.