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Law European Commission

In civil law the sources recognised as authoritative are, primarily, legislation—especially codifications in constitutions or statutes passed by government—and custom. Codifications date back millennia, with one early example being the Babylonian Codex Hammurabi. Modern civil law systems essentially derive from legal codes issued by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, which were rediscovered by 11th century Italy. Roman law in the days of the Roman Republic and Empire was heavily procedural, and lacked a professional legal class. Decisions were not published in any systematic way, so any case law that developed was disguised and almost unrecognised. Each case was to be decided afresh from the laws of the State, which mirrors the unimportance of judges’ decisions for future cases in civil law systems today.

  • Their principle was that no person should be able to usurp all powers of the state, in contrast to the absolutist theory of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan.
  • Law, rule, regulation, precept, statute, ordinance, canon mean a principle governing action or procedure.
  • The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches.
  • This usually entails exploring case-law reports, legal periodicals and legislation.

For a description of legal training and a general background, see legal profession, legal education, and legal ethics. Articles that delineate the relationship of law to political structures are constitution; ideology; political party; and political system. For articles that discuss the importance of law regarding social justice and other social issues, see human rights; land reform; and social service. For an examination of comparative legal systems and the relationship of the law to the social sciences, see comparative law.

A better known tort is defamation, which occurs, for example, when a newspaper makes unsupportable allegations that damage a politician’s reputation. More infamous are economic torts, which form the basis of labour law in some countries by making trade unions liable for strikes, when statute does not provide immunity. In exceptional circumstances defences can apply to specific acts, such as killing in self defence, or pleading insanity. Another example is in the 19th-century English case of R v Dudley and Stephens, which tested a defence of “necessity”. Three crew members and Richard Parker, a 17-year-old cabin boy, were stranded on a raft.

Both these codes influenced heavily not only the law systems of the countries in continental Europe (e.g. Greece), but also the Japanese and Korean legal traditions. Today, countries that have civil law systems range from Russia and Turkey to most of Central and Latin America. The main institutions of law in industrialised countries are independent courts, representative parliaments, an accountable executive, the military and police, bureaucratic organisation, the legal profession and civil society itself.

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The institutions of social construction, social norms, dispute processing and legal culture are key areas for inquiry in this knowledge field. In the United States the field is usually called law and society studies; in Europe it is more often referred to as socio-legal studies. At first, jurists and legal philosophers were suspicious of sociology of law.

This is to insure against the risk of economic crises, such as the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Civil procedure and criminal procedure concern the rules that courts must follow as a trial and appeals proceed. Labour law is the study of a tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union.

As to the depriving the defendant of waging his law, it was thought, the practice merited discouragement, as a temptation to perjury. One of the official rules of cricket as codified by the its governing body, the MCC. Newton’s third law of motion states that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

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Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong also adopted the common Law system. The eastern Asia legal tradition reflects a unique blend of secular and religious influences. Japan was the first country to begin modernising its legal system along western lines, by importing parts of the French, but mostly the German Civil Code. This partly reflected Germany’s status as a rising power in the late 19th century. Similarly, traditional Chinese law gave way to westernisation towards the final years of the Qing Dynasty in the form of six private law codes based mainly on the Japanese model of German law.

In addition a lawyer may become a legal researcher who provides on-demand legal research through a library, a commercial service or freelance work. Many people trained in law put their skills to use outside the legal field entirely. The executive in a legal system serves as the centre of political authority of the State. In a parliamentary system, as with Britain, Italy, Germany, India, and Japan, the executive is known as the cabinet, and composed of members of the legislature.

John Locke, in his Two Treatises of Government, and Baron de Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws, advocated for a separation of powers between the political, legislature and executive bodies. Their principle was that no person should be able to usurp all powers of the state, in contrast to the absolutist theory of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. Sun Yat-sen’s Five Power Constitution for the Republic of China took the separation of powers further by having two additional branches of government—a Control Yuan for auditing oversight and an Examination Yuan to manage the employment of public officials. Civil law jurisdictions treat contracts differently in a number of respects, with a more interventionist role for the state in both the formation and enforcement of contracts. In France, an ordinary contract is said to form simply on the basis of a “meeting of the minds” or a “concurrence of wills”.

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