The Basics of Law

Law is a set of rules created by the state that form a framework to ensure a peaceful society. If the laws are broken, sanctions can be imposed. Laws can be social, such as rules about censorship and crime and punishment, or they may be legal, such as contracts or property laws. The study of law encompasses both the theory and practice of the discipline. For articles that discuss legal training and the profession, see legal profession; law, education of; and legal ethics. Law is also the study of a particular country’s or region’s legal systems, and the article on this subject covers a wide range of issues, from constitutional law to international law.

A legal principle that states that judges and courts should follow previous decisions on similar cases. The principle is known as stare decisis. It is a fundamental part of common law, and it plays an important role in interpreting statutes as well as caselaw. Arraignment – The procedure in which a person accused of a crime is brought before a judge and told about the charges against him or her.

Prosecutor – An attorney who represents the government in criminal cases. Public defenders represent defendants who cannot afford their own attorneys in criminal matters. Injunction – A court order stopping a party from taking certain action, such as a lawsuit. The requesting party is called the plaintiff or petitioner, and the party against whom the injunction is being issued is called the defendant or respondent.

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