Law is a set of rules that govern social institutions and relationships. These rules are enforceable by governmental bodies. The law shapes the world around us, and is important to our access to justice.
Today, there are several different kinds of legal systems. They are commonly divided into common law and civil law. Civil law is a legal system that is more streamlined, and requires less judicial decision making.
Common law is a type of legal system that acknowledges decisions by the courts as “law”. Specifically, a court’s judgments on the same issue can affect future decisions.
The modern legal systems share many characteristics of the common law system. There are differences, however, as these legal systems vary in their structure and their legal rules.
Legal theories, such as analogy, argumentative theory, and statutory interpretation, are present in both common law and civil law. But there is a great deal of difference between the methods of interpreting the law and reasoning about it.
In a common law system, the outcome of a legal issue depends primarily on the way the court interprets the law. A court may decide that an individual’s actions were unlawful, but a jury or judge can overrule the court’s ruling.
The concept of “natural law” was re-emerged in mainstream culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas. The ancient Greek philosophers had a great impact on the idea of justice and law.
Religious law is another type of legal system. It focuses on religious precepts and is often based on consensus and the Quran.