Articles on Law


Law is a set of rules that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has many purposes, which may include keeping the peace and maintaining the status quo as well as protecting minorities against majorities and promoting social justice. Law shapes politics, economics, history and society in a wide variety of ways, which makes it an important subject for study.

Different legal systems exist, with civil law jurisdictions generally based on the code of a legislature and common law systems relying on judge-made precedent. Religious laws also play a role, particularly in some religious communities, and a variety of other laws govern specific situations, such as taxation or war.

The practice of law involves several areas, including criminal, family and commercial. Criminal law deals with the punishment of individuals for conduct deemed harmful to society. Civil law, on the other hand, focuses on the resolution of disputes between individuals or organizations. Family law includes the rights of people to their spouses, children and property in the event of a divorce or separation. Commercial law covers contracts and other business transactions.

Jurisdiction is an area of law that describes the authority of a court to decide cases. For example, a court of appeals has the power to review and change a decision made by a lower court or tribunal. This can happen if the appeals court finds that the lower court erred in its decision. Appeals courts usually hear cases in groups of three, but they may expand to the full bench, or en banc, if they deem the case to be of particular importance.

Besides jurisdiction, other legal terms are frequently used in law articles, such as discovery (the examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help prepare for the case) and docket (a log containing brief entries of proceedings). In addition, there are many types of legal terms to describe specific procedures, such as an arraignment or an appeal.

Articles on Law often discuss the relationship between the law and political structures, such as constitutional law, ideological law and parliamentary democracy, as well as the influence of law on economics and culture, such as canon law; censorship; crime and punishment; and law and religion. Other articles delve into specific areas of the law, such as agency; air law; bankruptcy; carriage of goods; contract; espionage; intellectual property; maritime law; and property law. Legal education and training are also covered in some articles, as are the relationships between law firms and their clients. For an analysis of the relationship between law and social sciences, see legal philosophy; political science; and sociology of law.

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