What Is Law?


Law is a set of rules, enforceable by social institutions, that shape history, economics, politics, and public policy. It includes specific legislation as well as more broadly defined provisions of international law.

Legal systems may be divided into two categories: civil law and common law. These systems share many features with each other, though they differ in the types of decisions that they make.

Common law legal systems include the doctrine of precedent, in which judges are bound by court rulings made by previous judges. However, a perfect statute may be overturned, and a ruling by a lower court might be overruled by a higher court.

Civil law legal systems, on the other hand, require less detail in judicial decisions. They also tend to be shorter.

Both types of legal systems can be accessed online. Shepard’s Citations, for example, is an online service available at numerous law libraries.

Federal law is created by Congress, and federal statutes generally cover interstate and international situations. State laws, on the other hand, are created by state legislatures and state courts.

The Constitution of the United States establishes the basis for federal law. It protects basic rights of every citizen.

Federal law is different from state law in several important ways. First, it is created at a national level, and it must be signed by the president. Secondly, there are many federal statutes that give the executive branch the power to create regulations. This creates special problems for accountability.