Law – An Overview

Law is a systematic system of rules developed and enforced by governmental or civic institutions to control behavior, for the precise definition; a legal matter having regard to the regulation of conduct, with an emphasis on the protection of rights and interests. It is differentially defined as the art and science of law. In particular, law refers to the body of law which includes civil law, criminal law, private law, corporate law and international law. It is also a study of the theories and practices that underlie the administration of justice, law and other human activities in the social, economic, political and religious sectors.

One can draw a distinction between civil and criminal law, for civil law governs behavior that is not criminal, such as freedom of speech and press, civil unions and other non-criminal arrangements of civil parties, and actions based on contract. Criminal law is legislation aimed at punishing crime, including theft, vandalism, arson, rape, homicide, serious crimes such as torture and extrajudicial execution. The states have separate system for prosecuting criminals, with federal criminal law providing offenses under the substantive criminal laws and state criminal law implementing the underlying statutes of the federal government. A distinction is also made between crimes against humanity and other grave violations of international law. The victims of crimes against humanity may seek compensation for their loss or for the damage caused to them, while victims of grave violations such as extrajudicial executions may seek reprieve for the loss of persons associated with such crimes, such as families of those killed.

The major areas of criminal law are private law, which is the area of law dealing with issues private individuals face such as divorce, annulment, property, trusts, business and personal injury. The cases of these areas of law frequently cross international borders and become part of trials before juries from other countries. The work of the attorney is geared towards ensuring that the defendant is afforded a fair trial and is properly represented. Many crimes, such as murder, are considered to be extremely serious offenses with limited punishment. Criminal law attorneys deal with these types of cases as they are different from other cases and must be handled in an entirely different manner.

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