The discipline of Law deals with the enactment and enforcement of rules of conduct in a community. It also involves the rules governing rights, property, and the conduct of individuals. Throughout human history, laws have shaped many areas of society and the way people live. Often, the laws of a nation-state help to resolve disputes and prevent social problems.
Generally, laws are created by state legislatures and reviewed by state courts. In some cases, laws may be declared invalid by state courts. Each state’s legal system is organized differently, and the Law Library of Congress has guides for each state’s laws. Government agencies issue regulations to carry out the laws. They publish these regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations.
In civil law systems, the courts and the executive branch of government explicitly recognize decisions made by their bodies as “law.” Common law systems also have the doctrine of precedent, which states that decisions by the high court bind lower courts and decisions by the same court in the future. Both common and civil law legal systems also have statutes. However, judicial decisions in civil systems tend to be shorter and less detailed than those in common law systems.
One important branch of law is admiralty, which lays the foundation for free trade in the world’s oceans. Admiralty law includes many aspects of shipping and includes specialised issues, such as the restitution of gains that someone else has made. It also covers matters of agency and property law, as well as bills of exchange.