Law is a vast subject that involves many aspects, from the nature of the legal system to the rights of citizens. Some of the most common areas are civil procedure and statute law. Others cover social issues such as the right to social security and the treatment of stateless individuals. Other areas of law cover the rights of people, such as family law, which covers marriage and divorce proceedings and the rights of individuals to money and property. Finally, there are fields of law that focus on business and transaction.
In a society, law helps regulate human behavior and promote cooperation. It also aids in resolving conflicts of interest that may arise in a society. Theorists of law include Hans Kelsen and Friedrich Karl von Savigny. According to these two philosophers, law is a normative science and a tool for social engineering and history.
A common law system explicitly recognizes that decisions of the executive branch and courts are law. It also includes the doctrine of precedent, which states that a higher court’s decision binds lower courts and decisions by the same court in the future. On the other hand, a civil law system focuses on both legislative statutes and judicial decisions. In civil law systems, judicial decisions are usually short and less detailed than those of common law systems.
As with all other aspects of law, political power plays an important role in creating and enforcing laws. The political landscape of a society differs significantly. In some places, law is a necessary tool for a stable government and a free society. But in others, it can be an instrument for oppressing political opponents and minorities.