Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process; the formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. A general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law.
Religious laws played a significant role in settling of secular matters, is still used in some religious communities. Islamic Sharia law is the world's most used religious law, is used as the primary legal system in some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia; the adjudication of the law is divided into two main areas. Criminal law deals with conduct, considered harmful to social order and in which the guilty party may be imprisoned or fined. Civil law deals with the resolution of lawsuits between individuals and/or organizations. Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, economic analysis and sociology. Law raises important and complex issues concerning equality and justice. Numerous definitions of law have been put forward over the centuries; the Third New International Dictionary from Merriam-Webster defines law as: "Law is a binding custom or practice of a community. The Dictionary of the History of Ideas published by Scribner's in 1973 defined the concept of law accordingly as: "A legal system is the most explicit, institutionalized, complex mode of regulating human conduct.
At the same time, it plays only one part in the congeries of rules which influence behavior, for social and moral rules of a less institutionalized kind are of great importance." There have been several attempts to produce "a universally acceptable definition of law". In 1972, one source indicated. McCoubrey and White said that the question "what is law?" has no simple answer. Glanville Williams said that the meaning of the word "law" depends on the context in which that word is used, he said that, for example, "early customary law" and "municipal law" were contexts where the word "law" had two different and irreconcilable meanings. Thurman Arnold said that it is obvious that it is impossible to define the word "law" and that it is equally obvious that the struggle to define that word should not be abandoned, it is possible to take the view that there is no need to define the word "law". The history of law links to the development of civilization. Ancient Egyptian law, dating as far back as 3000 BC, contained a civil code, broken into twelve books.
It was based on the concept of Ma'at, characterised by tradition, rhetorical speech, social equality and impartiality. By the 22nd century BC, the ancient Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu had formulated the first law code, which consisted of casuistic statements. Around 1760 BC, King Hammurabi further developed Babylonian law, by codifying and inscribing it in stone. Hammurabi placed several copies of his law code throughout the kingdom of Babylon as stelae, for the entire public to see; the most intact copy of these stelae was discovered in the 19th century by British Assyriologists, has since been transliterated and translated into various languages, including English, Italian and French. The Old Testament dates back to 1280 BC and takes the form of moral imperatives as recommendations for a good society; the small Greek city-state, ancient Athens, from about the 8th century BC was the first society to be based on broad inclusion of its citizenry, excluding women and the slave class. However, Athens had no legal science or single word for "law", relying instead on the three-way distinction between divine law, human decree and custom.
Yet Ancient Greek law contained major constitutional innovations in the development of democracy. Roman law was influenced by Greek philosophy, but its detailed rules were developed by professional jurists and were sophisticated. Over the centuries between the rise and decline of the Roman Empire, law was adapted to cope with the changing social situations and underwent major codification under Theodosius II and Justinian I. Although codes were replaced by custom and case law during the Dark Ages, Roman law was rediscovered around the 11th century when medieval legal scholars began to research Roman codes and adapt their concepts. Latin legal maxims were compiled for guidance. In medieval England, royal
Letter and spirit of the law
The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words of the law, but not the intent of those who wrote the law. Conversely, when one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, one is doing what the authors of the law intended, though not adhering to the literal wording. "Law" referred to legislative statute, but in the idiom may refer to any kind of rule. Intentionally following the letter of the law but not the spirit may be accomplished through exploiting technicalities and ambiguous language. William Shakespeare wrote numerous plays dealing with the letter versus spirit antithesis always coming down on the side of "spirit" forcing villains to make concessions and remedy. In one of the best known examples, The Merchant of Venice, he introduces the quibble as a plot device to save both the spirit and the letter of the law; the moneylender Shylock has made an agreement with Antonio that if he cannot repay a loan, he will have a pound of flesh from him.
When the debt is not repaid in time Portia at first pleads for mercy in a famous speech: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.". When Shylock refuses, she saves Antonio by pointing out that Shylock's agreement with him mentioned no blood, therefore Shylock can have his pound of flesh only if he sheds no blood. Interpretations of the U. S. Constitution have divided on the "Letter versus Spirit" debate. For example, at the founding, the Federalist Party argued for a looser interpretation of the Constitution, granting Congress broad powers in keeping with the spirit of the broader purpose of some founders; the Federalists would have represented the "spirit" aspect. In contrast, the Democratic-Republicans, who favored a limited federal government, argued for the strict interpretation of the Constitution, arguing that the federal government was granted only those powers enumerated in the Constitution, nothing not explicitly stated.
Modern Constitutional interpretation divides on these lines. Living Constitution scholars advocate a "spirit"-esque interpretative strategy, although one grounded in a spirit that reflects broad powers. Originalist or Textualist scholars advocate a more "letter"-based approach, arguing that the Amendment process of the Constitution forecloses broader interpretations that can be accomplished by passing an amendment; the Christian Bible references the letter and the spirit of the law in 2 Cor 3:6 NASB. Though it is not quoted directly, the principle is applied using the words "spirit" and "letter" in context with the legalistic view of the Hebrew Bible; this is the first recorded use of the phrase. In the New Testament, Pharisees are seen as people. Thus, "Pharisee" has entered the language as a pejorative for one. Pharisees are depicted as being lawless or corrupt. However, the Hebrew word "Perushim" from which "Pharisee" is derived means "separatists", referencing their focus on spiritual needs versus worldly pleasures.
In the Gospels, Jesus is shown as being critical of Pharisees. He is more like the Essenes than the other Jewish groups of the time, they advocated prayer and fasting as spiritual practices. The Pharisees were those. Not all Pharisees, nor all Jews of that time, were legalistic. Though modern language has used the word Pharisee in the pejorative to describe someone, legalistic and rigid, it is not an accurate description of all Pharisees; the argument over the "Spirit of the Law" vs. the "Letter of the Law" was part of early Jewish dialogue as well. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the New Testament texts to address this theme; the passage concerns a dialogue between Jesus and an "expert in the law" or "lawyer". As described in verse 25, the intent of the dialogue was to trap Jesus into making statements contrary to the law. Jesus responds by posing the question back to the lawyer, as having knowledge of the law, The lawyer quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.", NKJV) and Leviticus 19:18.
The question "Who is my neighbor?", that follows in verse 29, is described as being asked with the goal of self-justification. It is that Jesus responds with the story of a man beaten by robbers, ignored by a Priest and a Levite, but rescued and compassionately cared for by a Samaritan. Priests and Levites were Israelites whose qualifications and duties were meticulously set forth in Mosaic law, while Samaritans were descended from Israelites who had intermarried wi
Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health and moral welfare of people inclusive of one's self. Most criminal law is established by statute, to say that the laws are enacted by a legislature. Criminal law includes the rehabilitation of people who violate such laws. Criminal law varies according to jurisdiction, differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation, rather than on punishment or rehabilitation. Criminal procedure is a formalized official activity that authenticates the fact of commission of a crime and authorizes punitive or rehabilitative treatment of the offender; the first civilizations did not distinguish between civil law and criminal law. The first written codes of law were designed by the Sumerians. Around 2100–2050 BC Ur-Nammu, the Neo-Sumerian king of Ur, enacted the oldest written legal code whose text has been discovered: the Code of Ur-Nammu although an earlier code of Urukagina of Lagash is known to have existed.
Another important early code was the Code of Hammurabi. Only fragments of the early criminal laws of Ancient Greece have survived, e.g. those of Solon and Draco. In Roman law, Gaius's Commentaries on the Twelve Tables conflated the civil and criminal aspects, treating theft as a tort. Assault and violent robbery were analogized to trespass as to property. Breach of such laws created an obligation of law or vinculum juris discharged by payment of monetary compensation or damages; the criminal law of imperial Rome is collected in Books 47–48 of the Digest. After the revival of Roman law in the 12th century, sixth-century Roman classifications and jurisprudence provided the foundations of the distinction between criminal and civil law in European law from until the present time; the first signs of the modern distinction between crimes and civil matters emerged during the Norman Invasion of England. The special notion of criminal penalty, at least concerning Europe, arose in Spanish Late Scholasticism, when the theological notion of God's penalty, inflicted for a guilty mind, became transfused into canon law first and to secular criminal law.
The development of the state dispensing justice in a court emerged in the eighteenth century when European countries began maintaining police services. From this point, criminal law formalized the mechanisms for enforcement, which allowed for its development as a discernible entity. Criminal law is distinctive for the uniquely serious, potential consequences or sanctions for failure to abide by its rules; every crime is composed of criminal elements. Capital punishment may be imposed in some jurisdictions for the most serious crimes. Physical or corporal punishment may be imposed such as whipping or caning, although these punishments are prohibited in much of the world. Individuals may be incarcerated in prison or jail in a variety of conditions depending on the jurisdiction. Confinement may be solitary. Length of incarceration may vary from a day to life. Government supervision may be imposed, including house arrest, convicts may be required to conform to particularized guidelines as part of a parole or probation regimen.
Fines may be imposed, seizing money or property from a person convicted of a crime. Five objectives are accepted for enforcement of the criminal law by punishments: retribution, incapacitation and restoration. Jurisdictions differ on the value to be placed on each. Retribution – Criminals ought to Be Punished in some way; this is the most seen goal. Criminals have taken improper advantage, or inflicted unfair detriment, upon others and the criminal law will put criminals at some unpleasant disadvantage to "balance the scales." People submit to the law to receive the right not to be murdered and if people contravene these laws, they surrender the rights granted to them by the law. Thus, one who murders may be executed himself. A related theory includes the idea of "righting the balance." Deterrence – Individual deterrence is aimed toward the specific offender. The aim is to impose a sufficient penalty to discourage the offender from criminal behavior. General deterrence aims at society at large. By imposing a penalty on those who commit offenses, other individuals are discouraged from committing those offenses.
Incapacitation – Designed to keep criminals away from society so that the public is protected from their misconduct. This is achieved through prison sentences today; the death penalty or banishment have served the same purpose. Rehabilitation – Aims at transforming an offender into a valuable member of society, its primary goal is to prevent further offense by convincing the offender that their conduct was wrong. Restoration – This is a victim-oriented theory of punishment; the goal is to repair, through state authority, any injury inflicted upon the victim by the offender. For example, one who embezzles will be required to repay the amount improperly acquired. Restoration is combined with other main goals of criminal justice and is related to concepts in the civil law, i.e. returning the victim to his or her original position before the injury. Many laws are enforced by threat of criminal punishment, the range of the punishment varies with the jurisdiction; the scope of criminal law is too vast to catalog intelligently.
The following are some of the more typical aspects of criminal law. The criminal law prohibits undesirable acts. Thus, proof of a crime requires proof of some act. Scholars label this the requir