Historically, the term “law” refers to a set of rules enforceable by governmental institutions. The definition of law is often controversial and questions are often raised about the extent to which law reflects morality. Laws can be classified in three categories: civil law, common law, and federal law.
Common law legal systems are those that explicitly acknowledge judicial decisions as law. They also include a doctrine of precedent, wherein decisions made by a court bind future decisions made by the same court. These systems typically consist of a shorter judicial decision-making process and less detailed legal reasoning.
The concept of “natural law” emerged in ancient Greek philosophy and continued to enter mainstream culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas. Religious law includes a variety of traditions, including Christian canon law, Jewish Halakha, Islamic Sharia, and Quranic law. Each of these traditions uses its own code, and some churches use only one or the other.
There are many common legal issues, including employment law, housing issues, consumer rights, immigration, and debt. These issues can also arise from unexpected events, such as a criminal charge or illness. Law is not always obvious, so it is important to consult with a lawyer if you need to make a legal claim.
These issues can also include the rights of foreigners to work and live in a nation-state, and voter registration. Laws related to these issues can be found in government websites. Election law is the subdiscipline of constitutional law, which focuses on the rules that govern elections. Unlike federal law, state-enforced laws can be made by a single legislator, a group legislature, or an executive, such as the President.
Commercial law deals with the rules of a trade or business. These laws can be found in areas such as contracts, contracts for goods and services, and securities. Other areas of commercial law include land law, which deals with mortgages, rental agreements, and covenants.
Commercial law also covers specialized issues, such as banking law, which sets minimum capital requirements for banks, and admiralty law, which provides a basic framework for free trade and transportation. Space law is a relatively new field, dealing with aspects of international law concerning human activities in space.
Civil law systems are shorter, and are distinguished by their recognition of judicial decisions as law. These legal systems require less detailed judicial decisions, and are generally shorter than common law systems. Civil law legal systems include judicial decisions and legislative statutes. Common law legal systems include judicial decisions, but do not include legislative statutes.
Laws can also be created by private individuals. For example, a company can establish a separate legal personality for itself by creating a corporation. A company can also create legally binding contracts with other private individuals. The legal issues of these types of transactions can also be addressed through arbitration agreements.
Laws also deal with public services, including the provision of utilities and water. These industries are regulated in most OECD countries. The regulation of these industries has survived several legal challenges.