Philosophy of lawThe philosophy of law is commonly known as jurisprudence. Normative jurisprudence asks "what should law be?", while analytic jurisprudence asks "what is law?"
Analytical jurisprudenceThere have been several attempts to produce "a universally acceptable definition of law". In 1972, Baron Hampstead suggested that no such definition could be produced. McCoubrey and White said that the question "what is law?" has no simple answer. . ''Introduction to Jurisprudence''. Third Edition. Stevens & Sons. London. 1972. Second Impression. 1975. p. 39. 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 " " were contexts where the word "law" had two different and irreconcilable meanings. said that it is obvious that it is impossible to define the word "law" and that it is also equally obvious that the struggle to define that word should not ever be abandoned. It is possible to take the view that there is no need to define the word "law" (e.g. "let's forget about generalities and get down to cases"). One definition is that law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behaviour. In '' '' Hart argued law is a "system of rules"; Austin said law was "the command of a sovereign, backed by the threat of a sanction"; Dworkin describes law as an "interpretive concept" to achieve in his text titled '' '';Law's Empire
Connection to morality and justiceDefinitions of law often raise the question of the extent to which law incorporates morality. 's answer was that law is "commands, backed by threat of sanctions, from a sovereign, to whom people have a habit of obedience".Bix
HistoryThe history of law links closely to the development of . ian law, dating as far back as 3000 BC, was based on the concept of and characterised by tradition, al speech, social equality and impartiality. By the 22nd century BC, the ancient ian ruler had formulated the first , which consisted of statements ("if … then ..."). Around 1760 BC, 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 , for the entire public to see; this became known as the . The most intact copy of these stelae was discovered in the 19th century by British , and has since been fully and translated into various languages, including English, Italian, German, and French. The dates back to 1280 BC and takes the form of moral imperatives as recommendations for a good society. The small city-state, ancient , from about the 8th century BC was the first society to be based on broad inclusion of its citizenry, excluding women and the class. However, Athens had no legal science or single word for "law", relying instead on the three-way distinction between divine law (''thémis''), human decree (''nomos'') and custom (''díkē''). Yet contained major innovations in the development of . was heavily influenced by Greek philosophy, but its detailed rules were developed by professional jurists and were highly sophisticated. Over the centuries between the rise and decline of the , law was adapted to cope with the changing social situations and underwent major codification under and .As a legal system, Roman law has affected the development of law worldwide. It also forms the basis for the law codes of most countries of continental Europe and has played an important role in the creation of the idea of a common European culture (Stein, ''Roman Law in European History'', 2, 104–107). Although codes were replaced by and during the , Roman law was rediscovered around the 11th century when medieval legal scholars began to research Roman codes and adapt their concepts to the , giving birth to the '' ''. Latin s (called brocards) were compiled for guidance. In medieval England, royal courts developed a body of which later became the . A Europe-wide was formed so that merchants could trade with common standards of practice rather than with the many splintered facets of local laws. The Law Merchant, a precursor to modern commercial law, emphasised the freedom to contract and alienability of property. As grew in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Law Merchant was incorporated into countries' local law under new civil codes. The and Codes became the most influential. In contrast to English common law, which consists of enormous tomes of case law, codes in small books are easy to export and easy for judges to apply. However, today there are signs that civil and common law are converging. EU law is codified in treaties, but develops through ''de facto'' precedent laid down by the . Ancient and represent distinct traditions of law, and have historically had independent schools of legal theory and practice. The '' '', probably compiled around 100 AD (although it contains older material), and the '' '' (c. 100–300 AD) were foundational treatises in India, and comprise texts considered authoritative legal guidance. Manu's central philosophy was tolerance and pluralism, and was cited across Southeast Asia. During the , was established by the Muslim sultanates and empires, most notably 's , compiled by emperor and various scholars of Islam. In India, the legal tradition, along with Islamic law, were both supplanted by common law when India of the . Malaysia, Brunei, and also adopted the common law system. The eastern Asia legal tradition reflects a unique blend of secular and religious influences. Japan was the first country to begin modernising its legal system along western lines, by importing parts of the French, but mostly the German Civil Code. This partly reflected Germany's status as a rising power in the late 19th century. Similarly, gave way to westernisation towards the final years of the in the form of six private law codes based mainly on the Japanese model of German law. Today Taiwanese law retains the closest affinity to the codifications from that period, because of the split between 's nationalists, who fled there, and 's communists who won control of the mainland in 1949. The current legal infrastructure in the People's Republic of China was heavily influenced by , which essentially inflates administrative law at the expense of private law rights. Due to rapid industrialisation, today China is undergoing a process of reform, at least in terms of economic, if not social and political, rights. A new contract code in 1999 represented a move away from administrative domination. Furthermore, after negotiations lasting fifteen years, in 2001 China joined the .
Legal systemsIn general, legal systems can be split between civil law and common law systems. Modern scholars argue that the significance of this distinction has progressively declined; the numerous , typical of modern law, result in the sharing by modern legal systems of many features traditionally considered typical of either common law or civil law.Mattei, ''Comparative Law and Economics'', 71 The term "civil law", referring to the civilian legal system originating in continental Europe, should not be confused with "civil law" in the sense of the common law topics distinct from and . The third type of legal system—accepted by some countries without —is religious law, based on s. The specific system that a country is ruled by is often determined by its history, connections with other countries, or its adherence to international standards. The that jurisdictions adopt as authoritatively binding are the defining features of any legal system. Yet classification is a matter of form rather than substance since similar rules often prevail.
Civil lawCivil law is the legal system used in most countries around the world today. In civil law the sources recognised as authoritative are, primarily, legislation—especially codifications in constitutions or s passed by government—and . Codifications date back millennia, with one early example being the Babylonian '' ''. Modern civil law systems essentially derive from legal codes issued by Emperor in the 6th century, which were rediscovered by 11th century Italy. Roman law in the days of the and Empire was heavily procedural, and lacked a professional legal class. Instead a lay , ''iudex'', was chosen to adjudicate. Decisions were not published in any systematic way, so any case law that developed was disguised and almost unrecognised. Each case was to be decided afresh from the laws of the State, which mirrors the (theoretical) unimportance of judges' decisions for future cases in civil law systems today. From 529 to 534 AD the Emperor codified and consolidated Roman law up until that point, so that what remained was one-twentieth of the mass of legal texts from before. This became known as the '' ''. As one legal historian wrote, "Justinian consciously looked back to the golden age of Roman law and aimed to restore it to the peak it had reached three centuries before." The Justinian Code remained in force in the East until the fall of the . Western Europe, meanwhile, relied on a mix of the and Germanic customary law until the Justinian Code was rediscovered in the 11th century, and scholars at the used it to interpret their own laws. Civil law codifications based closely on Roman law, alongside some influences from s such as , continued to spread throughout Europe until the ; then, in the 19th century, both France, with the '' '', and Germany, with the '' '', modernised their legal codes. Both these codes influenced heavily not only the law systems of the countries in continental Europe (e.g. Greece), but also the and legal traditions. Today, countries that have civil law systems range from Russia] and Turkey to most of Central America, Central and .
Anarchist lawAnarchism has been practiced in society in much of the world. Mass , ranging from to the United States, exist and vary from hundreds to millions. Anarchism encompasses a broad range of political philosophies with different tendencies and implementation. Anarchist law primarily deals with how anarchism is implemented upon a society, the framework based on decentralized organizations and mutual aid, with representation through a form of . Laws being based upon their need. A large portion of anarchist ideologies such as and primarily focuses on worker unions, and syndicates as the main instrument of society.
Socialist lawSocialist law is the legal systems in s such as the former and the . Academic opinion is divided on whether it is a separate system from civil law, given major deviations based on Marxist–Leninist ideology, such as subordinating the judiciary to the executive ruling party.
Common law and equityIn legal systems, decisions by courts are explicitly acknowledged as "law" on equal footing with adopted through the legislative process and with issued by the . The "doctrine of precedent", or '' '' (Latin for "to stand by decisions") means that decisions by higher courts bind lower courts, and future decisions of the same court, to assure that similar cases reach similar results. In , in " " systems, legislative statutes are typically more detailed, and judicial decisions are shorter and less detailed, because the judge or barrister is only writing to decide the single case, rather than to set out reasoning that will guide future courts. Common law originated from England and has been inherited by almost every country once tied to the (except Malta, , the U.S. state of , and the Canadian province of ). In medieval England, the the law varied-shire-to-shire, based on disparate tribal customs. The concept of a "common law" developed during the reign of during the late 12th century, when Henry appointed judges that had authority to create an institutionalised and unified system of law "common" to the country. The next major step in the evolution of the common law came when was forced by his barons to sign a document limiting his authority to pass laws. This "great charter" or '' '' of 1215 also required that the King's entourage of judges hold their courts and judgments at "a certain place" rather than dispensing autocratic justice in unpredictable places about the country. A concentrated and elite group of judges acquired a dominant role in law-making under this system, and compared to its European counterparts the English judiciary became highly centralised. In 1297, for instance, while the highest court in France had fifty-one judges, the had five. This powerful and tight-knit judiciary gave rise to a systematised process of developing common law. However, the system became overly systematised—overly rigid and inflexible. As a result, as time went on, increasing numbers of citizens petitioned the King to override the common law, and on the King's behalf the gave judgment to do what was equitable in a case. From the time of , the first to be appointed as Lord Chancellor, a systematic body of equity grew up alongside the rigid common law, and developed its own . At first, equity was often criticised as erratic, that it varied according to the length of the Chancellor's foot. Over time, courts of equity developed solid , especially under . In the 19th century in England, and in 1937 in the U.S., the two systems were . In developing the common law, academic writings have always played an important part, both to collect overarching principles from dispersed case law, and to argue for change. , from around 1760, was the first scholar to collect, describe, and teach the common law. But merely in describing, scholars who sought explanations and underlying structures slowly changed the way the law actually worked.
Religious lawReligious law is explicitly based on religious precepts. Examples include the Jewish and Islamic —both of which translate as the "path to follow"—while Christian also survives in some church communities. Often the implication of religion for law is unalterability, because the word of God cannot be amended or legislated against by judges or governments. However, a thorough and detailed legal system generally requires human elaboration. For instance, the has some law, and it acts as a source of further law through interpretation, '' '' (reasoning by analogy), '' '' (consensus) and . This is mainly contained in a body of law and jurisprudence known as and respectively. Another example is the or , in the or Five Books of Moses. This contains the basic code of Jewish law, which some Israeli communities choose to use. The is a code of Jewish law that summarizes some of the Talmud's interpretations. Nevertheless, allows s to use religious laws only if they choose. is only in use by members of the , the and the .
Canon lawCanon law (from ''kanon'', a 'straight measuring rod, ') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organisation or church and its members. It is the internal