Law refers to a set of rules that are enforceable by social institutions. It is the basis of political, economic, social, and cultural structures.
There are three basic types of laws: federal, state, and common law. Federal laws are made by the executive branch of government, while state laws are created by legislatures. Common laws are based on court decisions.
Law is often used to refer to legal principles that are based on a religious precept. Some religions use law as a way to maintain the integrity of God’s word. In some religious communities, Christian canon law remains in practice.
Law varies according to the jurisdiction. State courts are responsible for cases that are within their state’s boundaries, while federal courts have the power to establish individual rights under federal law.
Courts have authority to hear criminal and civil cases. They decide disputes between individuals and businesses. However, some issues are heard in both state and federal courts.
Legal proceedings are governed by a series of rules, which include the doctrine of precedent. This means that a court’s decision will normally be followed unless it has been challenged by a party.
During a trial, evidence can be presented in the form of documents, photographs, or testimony. The plaintiff (the person bringing a lawsuit) can present a complaint, which is a written statement detailing alleged wrongs.
In a criminal case, a defendant’s plea can be guilty or nolo contendere. Nolo contendere is a statement that the defendant does not intend to be found guilty, which has the same effect as pleading guilty.