The Basics of Law


Law is a system of rules that are enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. These rules can be made by a legislative process (resulting in statutes), by the executive branch (resulting in regulations), or established through case law by judges, normally in common law legal systems. The legal system in a nation is also influenced by its constitution, whether written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein.

There are many different areas of law, such as torts, criminal law, and property law. Each area has its own unique terminology and specific procedures to follow. For example, a court hearing a lawsuit may have to conduct a voir dire, which is a process where potential jurors are asked questions about their background and knowledge of the case. Those selected as jurors are then added to the jury pool, from which actual jurors are chosen for a trial. Jury pools are typically drawn from sources such as voter registration banks. Lawyers for the plaintiff and defendant in a trial then choose jurors from this pool. The resulting jury decision is known as the judgment.

A court of appeals may decide to review the decision of a lower court, and its decision will become binding on all other courts that have jurisdiction to hear that case. This is the principle of stare decisis, which means that a previous decision by a higher court must be followed unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. In addition, all courts, both state and federal, are bound by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States.

The language of legal documents can be very technical, and a court document will often include footnotes that explain certain terms used in the text. A judge and lawyers will often read these footnotes to find a reference to a legal authority or to understand the meaning of a particular term.

In some cases, the language of a legal document is very complex, with references to specialized areas such as constitutional law and tax law. These types of documents are usually used by attorneys for clients who have a good understanding of these issues.

The laws of a country are usually based on principles of justice and fairness. These principles are set forth in the Bible, for example: Thou shalt not respect persons in judgment; thou shalt not be partial to the poor and needy (Deuteronomy 16:18). The law must be uniform and apply equally to all people, and it must provide for a fair trial. There are many other tenets that a country’s laws must adhere to, but these are the most important for the sanctity of the law and the safety of the people. A society that violates the principles of justice and fairness will have trouble enforcing its laws. This can result in rebellion against the existing political-legal power, which leads to revolutions and uprisings. It is vital for citizens of a country to know its laws and the process by which they are established.