Law in Action Emory University School of Law

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  • If a country has an entrenched constitution, a special majority for changes to the constitution may be required, making changes to the law more difficult.
  • A better known tort is defamation, which occurs, for example, when a newspaper makes unsupportable allegations that damage a politician’s reputation.
  • The modern dipole state–civil society was reproduced in the theories of Alexis de Tocqueville and Karl Marx.
  • Until the 18th century, Sharia law was practiced throughout the Muslim world in a non-codified form, with the Ottoman Empire’s Mecelle code in the 19th century being a first attempt at codifying elements of Sharia law.

For an examination of comparative legal systems and the relationship of the law to the social sciences, see comparative law. For an analysis of the role of law in the administration of government, see administrative law. For an exposition of social restrictions and their enforcement, see censorship; crime and punishment; and police. For a description of the legal aspects of war and the military, see war, law of. For international aspects of law, see international law; and United Nations.

Roman law in the days of the Roman Republic and Empire was heavily procedural, and lacked a professional legal class. 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 unimportance of judges’ decisions for future cases in civil law systems today.

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This powerful and tight-knit judiciary gave rise to a systematised process of developing common Law News. Socialist law is the legal systems in communist states such as the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. 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.

By contrast, the classic civil law approach to property, propounded by Friedrich Carl von Savigny, is that it is a right good against the world. Obligations, like contracts and torts, are conceptualised as rights good between individuals. The idea of property raises many further philosophical and political issues. Locke argued that our “lives, liberties and estates” are our property because we own our bodies and mix our labour with our surroundings. Many Muslim countries have developed similar rules about legal education and the legal profession, but some still allow lawyers with training in traditional Islamic law to practice law before personal status law courts. In China and other developing countries there are not sufficient professionally trained people to staff the existing judicial systems, and, accordingly, formal standards are more relaxed.

Max Weber famously argued that the state is that which controls the monopoly on the legitimate use of force. The military and police carry out enforcement at the request of the government or the courts. The term failed state refers to states that cannot implement or enforce policies; their police and military no longer control security and order and society moves into anarchy, the absence of government. The executive in a legal system serves as the centre of political authority of the State.

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Competition law, known in the United States as antitrust law, is an evolving field that traces as far back as Roman decrees against price fixing and the English restraint of trade doctrine. Modern competition law derives from the U.S. anti-cartel and anti-monopoly statutes of the turn of the 20th century. It is used to control businesses who attempt to use their economic influence to distort market prices at the expense of consumer welfare. Admiralty law and the sea law lay a basic framework for free trade and commerce across the world’s oceans and seas, where outside of a country’s zone of control. Shipping companies operate through ordinary principles of commercial law, generalised for a global market.

Formal legal rationality was his term for the key characteristic of the kind of coherent and calculable law that was a precondition for modern political developments and the modern bureaucratic state. Weber saw this law as having developed in parallel with the growth of capitalism. Other notable early legal sociologists included Hugo Sinzheimer, Theodor Geiger, Georges Gurvitch and Leon Petrażycki in Europe, and William Graham Sumner in the U.S.

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