What is the difference between public law and private law?
What is the difference between civil law and common law systems?
What is the purpose of administrative law?
What is the difference between real property and personal property?
What is a trust in property law?
What is the purpose of equity in property law?
What is the difference between torts and delicts?
What is the most common form of tort?
What is the abstraction principle in German contract law?
Law: Rules and Guidelines for Behavior
Law is a system of rules enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior.
State-enforced laws can be made by a group legislature, executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent.
Private individuals may create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that adopt alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation.
Legal systems vary between jurisdictions, with differences analyzed in comparative law.
The scope of law can be divided into two domains: public law concerns government and society, and private law deals with legal disputes between individuals and/or organizations.
Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis, and sociology.
Analytical jurisprudence asks "what is law?" and there is no universally acceptable definition of law.
Law is a system of rules and guidelines enforced through social institutions to govern behavior.
Law has both positivist and naturalist elements.
The concept of "natural law" emerged in ancient Greek philosophy and re-entered the mainstream of Western culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas.
Legal systems can be split between civil law and common law systems, and the sources jurisdictions adopt as authoritatively binding are defining features of any legal system.
Roman law in the days of the Roman Republic and Empire was heavily procedural, lacked a professional legal class, and decisions were not published in any systematic way.state in a parliamentary system is usually a ceremonial figurehead who does not actively participate in the day-to-day functions of government. In a presidential system, the executive is led by a president who serves as both head of state and head of government. The president is elected independently from the legislature, and has a fixed term of office. The executive branch of government is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws enacted by the legislature, and for managing the day-to-day affairs of the state. The executive branch is also responsible for foreign relations, national defense, and economic policy. In some countries, such as the United States, the executive branch has significant powers of appointment and veto.Overview of Government and Law
Different models of government include parliamentary and presidential systems, with varying degrees of separation between the executive branch and the legislature.
The military and police carry out enforcement at the request of the government or courts, and the term "failed state" refers to states that cannot implement or enforce policies.
Bureaucracy is necessary to carry out the directives of the executive and is a defining feature of a developed state.
The legal profession is overseen by regulating bodies, and lawyers are required to have a special qualification and be constituted in office by legal forms of appointment.
Civil society includes economic markets, profit-oriented firms, families, trade unions, hospitals, universities, schools, charities, debating clubs, non-governmental organizations, neighborhoods, churches, and religious associations.
Areas of law include public and private law, civil law, international law, constitutional and administrative law, criminal law, and contract law.
Constitutional law concerns the relationships between the executive, legislature, judiciary, and human rights or civil liberties of individuals against the state.
Administrative law is the chief method for people to hold state bodies to account.
Criminal law pertains to crimes and punishment and makes no moral judgment on an offender but regulates the definition of and penalties for offenses found to have a sufficiently deleterious social impact.
Contract law concerns enforceable promises and requires three key elements: offer and acceptance, consideration, and the intention to create legal relations.Overview of Law: Contracts, Torts, Property Law, Equity and Trusts, and Intersection with Other Fields
- Estoppel or culpa in contrahendo can create obligations during pre-contractual negotiations.
- Civil law jurisdictions have a more interventionist role for the state in both the formation and enforcement of contracts, and incorporate more mandatory terms into contracts, allow greater latitude for courts to interpret and revise contract terms, and impose a stronger duty of good faith.
- France has an ordinary contract that forms simply on the basis of a "meeting of the minds" or a "concurrence of wills".
- Germany has an 'abstraction principle' (Abstraktionsprinzip) which means that the personal obligation of contract forms separately from the title of property being conferred.
- Unjust enrichment law, rather than contract law, is used to restore title to the rightful owner when contracts are invalidated for some reason.
Torts and Delicts:
- Certain civil wrongs are grouped together as torts under common law systems and delicts under civil law systems.
- To have acted tortiously, one must have breached a duty to another person or infringed some pre-existing legal right.
- Negligence is the most common form of tort, and the principles of negligence are illustrated by Donoghue v Stevenson.
- Torts can also involve intentional acts such as assault, battery, or trespass.
- Property law governs ownership and possession, with real property referring to ownership of land and things attached to it, and personal property referring to everything else.
- Land law forms the basis for most kinds of property law and concerns mortgages, rental agreements, licences, covenants, easements, and the statutory systems for land registration.
- Regulations on the use of personal property fall under intellectual property, company law, trusts, and commercial law.
Equity and Trusts:
- Equity is a body of rules that developed in England separately from the "common law."
- Whereas neither the common law nor civil law systems allow people to split the ownership from the control of one piece of property, equity allows this through an arrangement known as a trust.
- Trustees control property, whereas the beneficial or equitable ownership of trust property is held by people known as beneficiaries.
- In the early case of Keech v Sandford, a child had inherited the lease on a market in Romford, London, and Mr Sandford was entrusted to look after this property until the child matured.
Intersection with Other Fields:
- The discipline of law and economics arose partly out of a critique of trade unions and U.S. antitrust law.
- The most prominent economic analyst of law is 1991 Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase.
- The sociology of law examines the interaction of law with society and overlaps with jurisprudence, philosophy of law, social theory, and more specialised subjects such as criminology.
- Max Weber defined his "scientific" approach to law, identifying the "legal rational form" as a type of domination, not attributable to personal authority but to the authority of abstract norms.
Test your knowledge of law with this comprehensive quiz covering topics such as the definition and scope of law, different models of government, and areas of law including contracts, torts, property law, equity and trusts, and their intersection with other fields such as economics and sociology. Learn about the different legal systems, their sources of authority, and the roles of government, bureaucracy, and civil society in enforcing and regulating behavior. Challenge yourself with questions on legal history, philosophy, and analytical jurisprudence, and
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