The legal system is a set of laws, rules, and procedures governing human behavior. It describes rights and responsibilities of individuals and the government.
There are three main types of legal systems. These include the common law, civil law, and international law. Each of these systems has its own purposes. They also vary widely. Some of the common aims of a functioning legal system include promoting social justice, protecting minorities, preserving individual rights, and maintaining the status quo.
Common law is a system of legal rules based on judicial precedent. Typically, this system involves case law and statutes. This system has a history of use in England and the United States.
Civil law is a legal system that focuses on disputes between individuals. The most common examples of civil law involve property and torts. In civil law, the courts usually decide one case at a time.
Generally, positive law takes as its starting point that the law is the command of the sovereign. This theory also assumes that the governed will obey the sovereign’s commands.
In contrast, natural-law theorists emphasize the rights and duties of the governed. Laws that violate the natural law are not recognized.
In the US, the US Constitution is the foundation of the legal system. The constitution outlines the powers of the president, the legislative, and the judicial organs of the country. Various types of laws have been written to provide federal protections for citizens. Federal law may conflict with state law or international agreements.