Law is a set of rules that are enforceable by governmental institutions, as well as by social institutions, such as communities and partnerships. These can be divided into three main categories: civil law, criminal law, and common law.
Civil law systems include judicial decisions, legislative statutes, and regulations. The latter are usually shorter and do not require detailed judicial decisions. Common law legal systems include the doctrine of precedent, which is the principle that decisions by higher courts bind lower courts.
Law also encompasses more broadly defined provisions of international law and constitutional law. In the United States, for example, federal regulation is published in the Code of Federal Regulations. It is important to note that federal regulation survived multiple legal challenges.
One of the more important characteristics of modern legal systems is the existence of a systematic body of equity. This body of law developed alongside the rigid common law.
In addition, modern lawyers have special qualifications. Some have earned a Juris Doctor degree, which requires a qualifying exam. Other higher academic degrees include a Master of Legal Studies or a Bar Professional Training Course.
In both common law and civil law systems, argumentative theories exist. The outcome of a legal issue depends on the court’s interpretation of the law.
Law has also been described as the art of justice. As such, it has shaped the history and politics of a country. For instance, the United States Constitution sets forth the rights of American citizens.