Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. The precise nature of law is subject to debate. Some legal scholars see it as a science, while others describe it as an art or even a religion.
The law includes a variety of topics ranging from contracts to property to criminal procedure. It covers a vast array of activities, including the sale of goods and services, employment relationships, mortgages, loans, and medical procedures. The law also provides a framework for settling disputes between individuals or between a private party and the government.
A person practicing law is called a lawyer or attorney. Some lawyers specialize in specific areas of the law, such as business or family law. Other lawyers focus on a particular type of case, such as wrongful death or personal injury claims. The legal profession is highly regulated to ensure the integrity of attorneys and to protect consumers.
The word “law” comes from a Latin phrase meaning “to stand by.” It refers to the principle that the decisions of higher courts bind lower ones. This doctrine is known as the law of stare decisis and is the foundation for common-law systems of law. In contrast, in civil law systems of law, legislative statutes and administrative regulations take precedence over judicial decisions.
A lawyer’s job is to help his or her client understand the law and how it applies to the case at hand. This involves explaining complex legal concepts in an accessible way and guiding clients through the complexities of courtroom procedure. Lawyers also prepare written documents for judges and other lawyers that explain the facts of a case, the relevant laws, and their arguments in favor or against a particular point of view. These documents are called briefs.
Jurisprudence is the study of law and the structure of the legal system. The legal system consists of courts, barristers (lawyers who represent people in court), and law clerks.
A lawsuit is a legal action started by one or more parties against another based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, causing harm to the plaintiff. The defendants in a lawsuit are called plaintiffs and the process of arguing for or against a particular point of view is referred to as litigation. If a judge believes that a trial was not conducted properly, they may request that a higher court review the decision. This is called an appeal and the party making the request is known as the appellant. The court that reviews the appeal is known as the appellate court. In the United States, there are both federal and state appellate courts. Appeals can be binding or non-binding. In the latter case, the higher court will follow the earlier ruling unless there are compelling reasons to overturn it or significantly different facts and circumstances exist. Alternatively, the case can be considered settled when both parties agree to do so.