The Basics of Law


Law is the system of rules developed by a society or government that regulates activities such as crime, business agreements, social relationships and property ownership. Law can also refer to the profession of advising people about the law or representing them in court.

The law is a complex field that provides a source for scholarly inquiry in areas such as history, philosophy, sociology and economic analysis. It raises fundamental issues of justice and equality.

A legal term is any act, procedure or decision involving the law; for example, an eviction notice, a judgment in a civil case, a capital offense conviction and a court-ordered abortion. Other legal terms include:

Contract law is the area of law that deals with all agreements to exchange goods or services, from a simple purchase agreement to a stock trade on the exchange. Tort law is the area of law that deals with injuries to people, including intentional and unintentional harm. Criminal law is the branch of law that punishes those who commit crimes such as murder and theft. Civil law is the area of law that resolves lawsuits (disputes) between individuals or organizations. Tax law and banking law are branches of law that deal with regulations concerning value added tax, corporate tax and financial regulation. The en banc process is an extraordinary method by which the full bench of judges decides a case instead of just one or three of them. There are also several branches of family law, intellectual property law, bankruptcy law and real estate law.

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