Understanding the Basics of Law


Law is the set of rules that govern the relationships between people, societies and economies. It is usually overseen by governmental institutions. Generally, law is divided into three categories: federal, state and civil law.

Federal law includes both the acts of Congress and regulations promulgated by the executive branch. It covers a wide range of subjects, from international affairs to domestic situations. The United States Constitution sets the boundaries of federal law. Some laws are directly codified, while others are based on the principles of constitutional case law.

State law is a type of legislation that is made by a legislative body or executive branch, typically in the form of a statute. It can also be created by a single legislator, as in the case of state-enforced criminal laws. Common examples of state-enforced laws include immigration and marriage and divorce.

Civil law is the practice of making a legal contract between private individuals. The main branches of civil law are contract law, property law, and corporate law. These systems are generally less complex than those of the federal government, since they do not require detailed judicial decisions.

The practice of civil procedure involves rules of courts, judicial proceedings between private parties, and the interpretation of laws. In American civil procedure, a significant amount of pretrial discovery is conducted. This is designed to provide the court with evidence for a verdict before trial.

Competition law is an area of law that traces its roots back to Roman decrees against price fixing. Modern competition law controls businesses that distort market prices. There are a number of areas of competition law, including antitrust law, competition in securities, and mergers and acquisitions.

The term “natural law” arose in ancient Greece as a connection between justice and the notion that the laws of nature are unalterable. This concept re-entered mainstream culture in the writings of Thomas Aquinas. Today, the word “law” is applied to a variety of legal concepts, ranging from the laws of nature to the law of religion.

Depending on the legal issue, the answer to the question may require the help of a lawyer. Typically, the outcome of the legal issue depends on how the court interprets the law.

Law is a major influence in politics, history and economics. Historically, federal law largely centered on foreign relations and military power. But today, it also addresses the needs of communities, partnerships, and social institutions. Among the most powerful laws in both the federal and state levels are trademarks, employment law, and antitrust.

Legal issues can come from a variety of sources, including problems at work, unexpected illness, or even a planned event. Depending on the situation, a court might decide that the law requires an individual to pay damages, or that a company must pay a debt.

Criminal law is a field of law that focuses on violations of the laws of the federal government. In most cases, a crime is prosecuted at the state level.