The Basics of Law


Law is a set of rules which governs the conduct of individuals in society and in business. It is sometimes viewed as a science or an art. There are many areas of law, from civil rights and property rights to the criminal justice system and the rights of the young. Many websites provide information on these topics and more.

Common law legal systems explicitly recognize decisions of the executive and the courts as “law.” They also incorporate the doctrine of precedent, which holds that decisions of the same court or a higher court bind lower courts. Civil law legal systems also include legislative statutes and judicial decisions, but they tend to be shorter and more limited than common law. Moreover, judges writing decisions in a civil law system usually only decide a single case.

The rule of law has many aspects, and people tend to prioritize different aspects of it. Some people value the common law more than others, but both can be construed as legal systems. For instance, the common law is the epitome of legality. Rule of law is the impartial application of a statute. It also includes a stable constitution. The philosopher Aristotle compared the rule of law to the rule of man and said that the former is safer than the latter.

While the rule of law has its place in society, it has been contested for centuries. The medieval philosophers sought to distinguish between lawful and despotic forms of kingship, but the debate continues today.