Law, Justice

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Law, Justice

In our society, laws are not only designed to govern our conduct: they are also intended to give effect to social policies. For example, some laws provide for benefits when workers are injured on the job, for health care, as well as for loans to students who otherwise might not be able to go to university.Every country has its own set of laws, and each is unique to that country. For example, in the United States, the law is that drivers must drive on the right side of the road. In England, on the other hand, the law is that drivers must drive on the left side of the road. If you and your family are traveling to England, you can see how knowing the law can keep you safe.

Another goal of the law is fairness. This means that the law should recognize and protect certain basic individual rights and freedoms, such as liberty and equality. The law also serves to ensure that strong groups and individuals do not use their powerful positions in society to take unfair advantage of weaker individuals. However, despite the best intentions, laws are sometimes created that people later recognize as being unjust or unfair. In a democratic society like Canada, laws are not carved in stone, but must reflect the changing needs of society. In a democracy, anyone who feels that a particular law is flawed has the right to speak out publicly and to seek to change the law by lawful means. A body of rules of conduct of binding legal force and effect, prescribed, recognized, and enforced by controlling authority.

In U.S. law, the word law refers to any rule that if broken subjects a party to criminal punishment or civil liability. Laws in the United States are made by federal, state, and local legislatures, judges, the president, state governors, and administrative agencies. Law in the United States is a mosaic of statutes, treaties, case law, Administrative Agency regulations, executive orders, and local laws. U.S. law can be bewildering because the laws of the various jurisdictions—federal, state, and local—are sometimes in conflict. Moreover, U.S. law is not static. New laws are regularly introduced, old laws are repealed, and existing laws are modified, so the precise definition of a particular law may be different in the future from what it is today.

Legal Theory of Law

Legal theory refers to the principle under which a litigant proceeds, or on which a litigant bases its claims or defenses in a case. It can also be the law or body of rules of conduct which are of binding legal force and effect, prescribed, recognized, and enforced by a controlling authority, but instead is to give a sense for the way these terms are used in normative legal theory:

Welfare--The term "welfare" is heavily theory laden.  For contemporary law-and-economics scholars, welfare sometimes operates as a technical term.  One's welfare is a function of one's utility, and most contemporary economists understand utility as a function of one's preferences over states of affairs.  If I prefer a world in which I eat an ice cream cone after lunch to one in which I am abstemious, then the ice cream cone increases my welfare.  But the term "welfare" is also used in a much broader sense, in which my "welfare" is a function of what is good (and bad) for me.  In this sense, my "welfare" might be synonymous with my "well-being" or "flourishing or "happiness."  We might say that there are competing conceptions of the general concept of welfare.


The term "well-being" is similar to "welfare" in the broad and nontechnical sense.  In ordinary language, we frequently associate "well-being" with health--primarily physical health but mental health as well.  Philosophers use this term to refer to what is no instrumentally good for someone. 


In ordinary language, the term "happiness" is frequently used to refer to a mental state.  One might think of happiness as a feeling of pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, or enjoyment.  But the word "happiness" is also used as a translation for the Greek word "flourishing," and even in ordinary talk the use of phrases like "true happiness" suggests that not one can have pleasant feelings from moment to moment, but lack "happiness."  Some theorists would reserve the term "happiness" for a stable or enduring quality that is produced by the appropriate features of one's life.  Thus, it might be the case that "a job well done" can make you "happy," but a delicious desert can only give you "pleasure" or "enjoyment."

Legal Systems

Legal system refers to a procedure or process for interpreting and enforcing the law. It elaborates the rights and responsibilities in a variety of ways. Three major legal systems of the world consist of civil law, common law and religious law. Most nations today follow one of two major legal traditions: common law or civil law. The common law tradition emerged in England during the middle Ages and was applied within British colonies across continents. The civil law tradition developed in continental Europe at the same time and was applied in the colonies of European imperial powers such as Spain and Portugal. Civil law was also adopted in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by countries formerly possessing distinctive legal traditions, such as Russia and Japan that sought to reform their legal systems in order to gain economic and political power comparable to that of Western European nation-states. To an American familiar with the terminology and process of our legal system, which is based on English common law, civil law systems can be unfamiliar and confusing. Even though England had many profound cultural ties to the rest of Europe in the Middle Ages, its legal tradition developed differently from that of the continent for a number of historical reasons, and one of the most fundamental ways in which they diverged was in the establishment of judicial decisions as the basis of common law and legislative decisions as the basis of civil law. Before looking at the history, let’s examine briefly what this means.

Common Law

Common law is generally unmodified. This means that there is no comprehensive compilation of legal rules and statutes. While common law does rely on some scattered statutes, which are legislative decisions, it is largely based on precedent, meaning the judicial decisions that have already been made in similar cases. These precedents are maintained over time through the records of the courts as well as historically documented in collections of case law known as yearbooks and reports. The precedents to be applied in the decision of each new case are determined by the presiding judge. As a result, judges have an enormous role in shaping American and British law. Common law functions as an adversarial system, a contest between two opposing parties before a judge who moderates. A jury of ordinary people without legal training decides on the facts of the case. The judge then determines the appropriate sentence based on the jury’s verdict.

Civil Law

Civil Law, in contrast, is codified. Countries with civil law systems have comprehensive, continuously updated legal codes that specify all matters capable of being brought before a court, the applicable procedure, and the appropriate punishment for each offense. Such codes distinguish between different categories of law: substantive law establishes which acts are subject to criminal or civil prosecution, procedural law establishes how to determine whether a particular action constitutes a criminal act, and penal law establishes the appropriate penalty. In a civil law system, the judge’s role is to establish the facts of the case and to apply the provisions of the applicable code. Though the judge often brings the formal charges, investigates the matter, and decides on the case, he or she works within a framework established by a comprehensive, codified set of laws. The judge’s decision is consequently less crucial in shaping civil law than the decisions of legislators and legal scholars who draft and interpret the codes.

The main division is between Criminal and Civil, the former encompassing everything for which an arm of the government may impose a fine or imprisonment, the latter relating to disputes among parties for which remedies like damages are awarded to the prevailing party. Criminal law is virtually all statutory and a prosecution must prove each element of the crime detailed in the statute beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil law is more precedent-based. Most law teach Contracts, Property, Torts and Civil Procedure as the Civil law core, then a Criminal Law course and a course in Evidence. After that for purposes of eventually passing the bar there are required courses in things like Wills and Trusts and Tax. Depends on school and jurisdiction, but it’s the same for most first-year law classes in most common law jurisdictions (US, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom).

Religious Law

"The Israeli legal system is unique among modern legal systems in the utilization of various personal status laws in the area of family law, applied by religious courts. This phenomenon has historical and political roots: it existed under Ottoman rule and was retained by the British after they conquered the country. The basic source for the application of the personal status law and the jurisdiction of the various religious courts is found in the Palestine Order in Council (1922). This order provides that "jurisdiction in matters of personal status shall be exercised... by the courts of the religious communities".

The order also grants jurisdiction to the District Courts in matters of personal status for foreigners who are non-Muslims, stating that they "shall apply the personal law of the parties concerned". Regarding foreigners, this was defined as "the law of his nationality". Case law determined that regarding non-foreigners, "the court ... have... to apply the religious or communal law of the parties". The Palestine Order in Council recognized eleven religious communities: Jewish, Muslim, and nine Christian denominations. The Israeli government added the Presbyterian Evangelical Church and the Ba'hai to this list. The Knesset also enacted a law vesting jurisdiction in the Druze religious courts."

Legal Subjects of  Law

Contracts Law 

What are the elements of a legally binding agreement? How is it constructed and enforced?

Torts Law

How are private persons personally and professionally liable to one another such that a civil wrong and damages may arise?

Criminal Law 

What are the elements of a crime?

Property Law 

Who owns what and how? What are the bundles of rights that come with ownership?

Constitutional Law

What rights does the constitution protect? What is the scope of protection and when is it breached?

Civil Procedure

What are rules (and standards) in place for bringing a legal action, responding to a legal action or adjudicating legal action in a civil lawsuit?

Torts, Contracts, Property, Constitutional Law (mostly), Criminal Law/Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Legal Writing, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, Corporations and a writing based seminar. Corporations, Evidence, Professional responsibility and a writing based seminar are not traditional 1L courses… but are generally considered indispensable to a full legal education with some state bars requiring at least two of those (PR and WR) in that sense, they are core subjects. The prescribed number of law papers in a BA LLB course is 28, whereas in a BA LLB honors course is 36. The colleges are free to select their own papers and subjects, except for the 20 core papers which are compulsory and another 4 clinical papers. The list as reproduced from the BCI guidelines are:

  • Jurisprudence (Legal method, Indian legal system, and basic theory of law).
  • Law of Contract
  • Special Contract
  • Law of Tort including MV Accident and Consumer Protection Laws
  • Family Law (2 papers)
  • Law of Crimes Paper I : Penal Code
  • Law of Crime Paper II :Criminal Procedure Code
  • Constitutional Law (two papers)
  • Property Law
  • Law of Evidence
  • Civil Procedure Code and Limitation Act
  • Administrative Law
  • Company Law
  • Public International Law
  • Principles of Taxation Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Labour and Industrial Law (2 papers)
  • Drafting, Pleading and Conveyance
  • Professional Ethics & Professional Accounting system
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution
  • Moot court exercise and Internship (Not technically a taught course)