Homepage University of Chicago Law School

Formal legal rationality was his term for the key characteristic of the kind of coherent and calculable law that was a precondition for modern political developments and the modern bureaucratic state. Weber saw this law as having developed in parallel with the growth of capitalism. Other notable early legal sociologists included Hugo Sinzheimer, Theodor Geiger, Georges Gurvitch and Leon Petrażycki in Europe, and William Graham Sumner in the U.S. Criminal law, also known as penal law, pertains to crimes and punishment. Investigating, apprehending, charging, and trying suspected offenders is regulated by the law of criminal procedure. The paradigm case of a crime lies in the proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that a person is guilty of two things.

  • The concept of “natural law” emerged in ancient Greek philosophy concurrently and in connection with the notion of justice, and re-entered the mainstream of Western culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas, notably his Treatise on Law.
  • Richard Posner, University of Chicago Law School professor and the most cited legal scholar, until 2014 ran a blog with Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Becker.
  • National Journal of Law is a journal that publishes legal science articles, namely among others in the fields of civil law, criminal law, state administrative law, constitutional law, including all procedural law, as well as regarding cyber law, international law.
  • Professor Jiang is a scholar of the regulation of financial technology, generally known as FinTech, and of law and technology more broadly.

The election of a different executive is therefore capable of revolutionising an entire country’s approach to government. The third type of legal system—accepted by some countries without separation of church and state—is religious law, based on scriptures. The specific system that a country is ruled by is often determined by its history, connections with other countries, or its adherence to international standards. The sources that jurisdictions adopt as authoritatively binding are the defining features of any legal system. Yet classification is a matter of form rather than substance since similar rules often prevail. Ancient Egyptian law, dating as far back as 3000 BC, was based on the concept of Ma’at and characterised by tradition, rhetorical speech, social equality and impartiality.

By the 22nd century BC, the ancient Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu had formulated the first Law News code, which consisted of casuistic statements (“if … then …”). Around 1760 BC, King Hammurabi further developed Babylonian law, by codifying and inscribing it in stone. Hammurabi placed several copies of his law code throughout the kingdom of Babylon as stelae, for the entire public to see; this became known as the Codex Hammurabi. The most intact copy of these stelae was discovered in the 19th century by British Assyriologists, and has since been fully transliterated and translated into various languages, including English, Italian, German, and French. Constitution, U.S. laws, rules or regulations, or a treaty signed by the U.S., and the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction, then the case must be litigated in federal court. As pandemic-related eviction suspensions began to expire, Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor reached out to other law schools to enlist their support in responding to a looming housing crisis nationwide.

Enter Your Copy Code

In post-modern theory, civil society is necessarily a source of law, by being the basis from which people form opinions and lobby for what they believe law should be. Many Muslim countries have developed similar rules about legal education and the legal profession, but some still allow lawyers with training in traditional Islamic law to practice law before personal status law courts. In China and other developing countries there are not sufficient professionally trained people to staff the existing judicial systems, and, accordingly, formal standards are more relaxed. Modern military, policing and bureaucratic power over ordinary citizens’ daily lives pose special problems for accountability that earlier writers such as Locke or Montesquieu could not have foreseen. The custom and practice of the legal profession is an important part of people’s access to justice, whilst civil society is a term used to refer to the social institutions, communities and partnerships that form law’s political basis.

Read feature stories on how Georgetown Law stays ready to serve the students of today and tomorrow, and on how our O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law is building on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgetown Law students experience the law in the place where laws are made. Pursue a premier legal education with limitless opportunities in the nation’s capital. UCLA Law resides in a hub of immigration law and policy and offers innovative courses on a range of pressing issues. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘law.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. A similar tendency to seek definitions which are distinct from those used in other areas of social policy can be found in anti-discrimination law.

Corporate & Commercial Law

Today Taiwanese law retains the closest affinity to the codifications from that period, because of the split between Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists, who fled there, and Mao Zedong’s communists who won control of the mainland in 1949. The current legal infrastructure in the People’s Republic of China was heavily influenced by Soviet Socialist law, which essentially inflates administrative law at the expense of private law rights. Due to rapid industrialisation, today China is undergoing a process of reform, at least in terms of economic, if not social and political, rights. A new contract code in 1999 represented a move away from administrative domination.

The Catholic Church has the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the western world, predating the evolution of modern European civil law and common law systems. The Eastern Catholic Churches, which developed different disciplines and practices, are governed by the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The canon law of the Catholic Church influenced the common law during the medieval period through its preservation of Roman law doctrine such as the presumption of innocence. Colour-coded map of the legal systems around the world, showing civil, common law, religious, customary and mixed legal systems. Common law systems are shaded pink, and civil law systems are shaded blue/turquoise.

About the author