Law Law and Legal Definition

The system of law is a set of rules of conduct of any organized society that are enforced by threat of punishment if they are violated. Modern law has a broad scope and regulates many branches of conduct.The royal courts of England developed common law, which is judicial legislation, as opposed to the law of the formally enacted statute. Common law is based upon adherence to precedent, in which previous decisions are followed to ensure a uniform application of the law to similar situations. The theory behind adherence to precedent is to allow a predictable outcome for certain actions.

Civil law is based on written legal codes, a cornerstone of the Roman legal system, in which disputes were settled by reference to a written legal code arrived at through legislation, edicts, etc., as opposed to common law, which is based on the precedents created by judicial decisions over time. The tendency in civil law is to create a unified legal system by working out in detail the conclusions to be drawn from basic principles. The civil law judge is bound by the provisions of the written law. The traditional civil law decision states the applicable provision from the code or from a relevant statute, and the judgment is based upon that provision.