Understanding the Basics of Law


Law is a broad term, and not just a word for the legal profession. It refers to the rule of law, common law, civil procedure, and space law. Though it encapsulates the way the world works, it does not explain why things happen the way they do. The law exists to ensure that the rights of individuals are upheld.

Principles of the Rule of Law

The Rule of Law refers to the idea that government operates within the framework of rules. It is a concept that is rooted in the philosophy of Aristotle. He said, “Government by law is the best form of government.” In Politics, he wrote that the law should govern more than its citizens. Chesterfield Smith, the president of the American Bar Association, sums up the principles of the Rule of Law by saying, “There is no man above the law.” The law applies to every member of society, whether they are an official or not.

Common law

Common law is a body of law that has been around since the early Middle Ages. It is based on the decisions of judges and embodied in reports of decided cases. It was originally administered by common-law courts in England and has evolved into a legal system in the United States and Commonwealth. It differs from civil law and statute law in that it is much narrower in scope.

Civil procedure

Civil procedure is the process by which a civil case is handled in a court. It is a different area of law from criminal procedure, which students typically learn first. This course emphasizes the rules and guidelines for civil cases and outlines the procedures a court must follow when considering a lawsuit. It also includes study aids and commentary on the laws governing civil procedure.

Space law

Space law is becoming increasingly important as commercial activity in space continues to expand. It outlines the rights of astronauts, space stations, and other objects in space. International space law is necessary to ensure a safe and sustainable future for space. Currently, there are several conventions governing space activities. These agreements govern the return of astronauts, liability for damages, and the registration of space objects.

Tax law

Tax law, also called revenue law, is a set of rules and procedures used by public authorities to assess and collect taxes. It helps to ensure that the government has the proper funds to run its operations.

Civil society

There is a clear connection between the law and civil society. Both can be important elements of political activism. However, there are also differences. Civil society organizations are generally viewed as being elite actors that are not representative of the average citizen. Critics point to the high salaries and foreign travel of civic activists as evidence that these organizations are largely disconnected from the needs and concerns of ordinary people and only serve to promote their own privileged lifestyles.