Throughout history, law has served as a mediator for relations between people. It shapes our society, economics, and history. It is also the basis of social institutions and communities, including political institutions.
There are several categories of law. There are civil, criminal, and religious laws. Several legal systems are used in the United States. Common law legal systems are based on judicial decisions, while civil law legal systems are based on legislative statutes. Both types of legal systems have similarities. In a common law system, there is a doctrine of precedent, which means that judicial decisions bind future decisions.
Civil law legal systems are less detailed than common law legal systems, requiring less judicial decision making. Several examples of the topics covered in civil law legal systems are voting, voter registration, elections, electoral fraud, voting machines, and the election of presidents and other office holders. Civil law legal systems also deal with issues such as divorce, marriage, custody, and inheritance.
Religious law is explicitly based on religious precepts. Examples of religious law include Islamic Sharia, Jewish Halakha, and Qiyas. Some church communities are still governed by Christian canon law.
Commercial law is the area of law that covers property law and contracts. Examples of commercial law include banking law, property law, and competition law. Many of the principles of modern competition law come from anti-cartel statutes of the turn of the twentieth century. These laws regulate businesses that distort market prices. They also regulate the value added tax, income tax, corporate tax, and tax on property.
The legal profession is a crucial component of our access to justice. Generally, lawyers have substantial experience in a specific area of law. Typically, modern lawyers must have a bachelor’s degree in law or a master’s degree in a related field. In addition, they must pass a qualifying examination and obtain a special qualification. They may also qualify for a PhD in law.
The International Law Commission is an organization of 34 members who represent the world’s principal legal systems. It promotes the progressive development of international law. It prepares drafts on aspects of international law and consults with UN specialized agencies. It also advocates for the codification of international law.
The United Nations has an active legal agenda that has included addressing issues of global health, human rights, environmental protection, drug trafficking, and international migrant labour. The International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court) has been a leading dispute settlement organ of the UN. Founded in 1946, it has issued numerous judgments and advisory opinions. It has also handled over 170 cases.
Several multilateral treaties are adopted by the General Assembly and are open for signature and ratification. Many other treaties are deposited with governments. In general, these treaties cover the rights and obligations of governments and people in relation to international affairs. The United Nations Charter calls on the Organization to promote the progressive development of international law.
The United Nations also has a special division called the Legal (Sixth) Committee that assists the General Assembly in its work. It is composed of representatives of each UN Member State.