Law
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Basic Information

Laws are the rules for public and private conduct as determined by a given culture - these will usually be divided between statute law (those rules deliberately decided upon by government and formally enacted) and common (or traditional) law which is derived from long established custom (including the requirements of a dominant religion if applicable) or from precedents established by judges to fill gaps in the existing code. Law may also be divided between those regulating the behaviour of individuals with regard to the state (criminal law) and those dealing with relation and dispute between individuals (civil law). Note that many jurisdictions do not have a concept of common law - or at least, do not recognise the concept of accretive precedent when it comes to court proceedings, although many, if not all historical legal systems have a high regard for precedent and custom. Also, in some systems, especially historical ones, the lack of separation of powers and formal rule of law can make the distinction blurry - if the word of the King is law, and the king makes no real distinction between resolving other people's disputes and dealing with things that happen to displease him, but consults extensively with regard to the decisions of his predecessors, it becomes obvious that criminal, civil, customary and statute law have been rolled into an unholy mess.

Among other things, laws dictate which acts are legal and which are crimes, as well as what forms of punishment the accused might be subjected to.

See also:

Basic Concepts at Law:

Codes of Law:

Officers of Law:

Forms of Trial and other exercises of Law:

Sources

Bibliography
1. full source reference

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