The Basics of the Legal System

The legal system is the set of rules and procedures that determine how people live their lives. It can serve many purposes, including keeping the peace, maintaining the status quo, preserving individual rights, protecting minorities against majorities, promoting social justice, and providing orderly social change.형사전문변호사

Typically, a country’s legal system is classified as either common law or civil law. Both are based on court precedent, which means that a judge often uses past decisions to resolve the case before her.

Common law

Common law is a system of legal principles that rely on caselaw and legal precedent. It is the system of law used in a large number of countries around the world. It is distinguished from civil law, which relies on codes and statutes.

Common law originated in England during the Early Middle Ages when a single royal court was set up for the whole country at Westminster, near London. Unlike the Roman-derived civil law, which was based on statutes, common law emphasized rights over procedure.

In the United States, common law is still in use and is supplemented by a number of statutes. These statutes are typically codified by state legislatures and have become the basis of many facets of American law.

One of the main reasons for common law is that it allows the courts to adapt to situations that lawmakers may not have anticipated when they were enacting their laws. This is a big advantage in a court system.

Another important reason for common law is that it saves time and money in the courtroom. When a judge does not need to consult with lawyers on what the law is in a specific situation, they can quickly and easily make a decision on the spot.

Moreover, when a court is trying to determine the law in a particular situation, it is often necessary to search for previous court rulings and decisions to get a better idea of what the law actually is. This is called analyzing caselaw and legal precedent.

In America, this research is commonly done by searching the Supreme Court’s decisions and the laws of the various states that are part of the U.S. There is also a growing number of international common law systems that have a similar approach to interpreting their laws.

In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia, a mixture of common law and civil law is in use. While civil law focuses mainly on codes and statutes, common law is the more popular of the two.

Civil law

Civil law is the legal system that governs non-criminal matters, such as personal injury, contracts, property rights, and family issues. It has its roots in mainland European countries and is adopted in much of the world.

In most civil law systems, statutes are more detailed than in common law systems and are updated continuously. These statutes specify the type of legal cases that can be brought before a court, how to proceed, and what punishment is appropriate.

Unlike the common law system, where judges often base their decisions on precedents from previous court cases, in civil law systems judicial decision-making is more dependent on codes of statutory interpretation, which are crafted by legislators and academic legal experts. Because of this, the judge’s role in a civil law system is less like that of an investigator and more like that of an arbiter.

As a result, civil law systems have less freedom of contract than common law systems. Many provisions are implied into a contract by law, and parties cannot contract out of these provisions.

Some civil laws do not give rise to criminal processes or sanctions, such as the law of discrimination and the law of wills and estates. However, some breaches of these civil law rights and obligations may give rise to criminal charges.

Examples of these breaches include causing injury to another person, causing damage to his or her property, and committing a tort. A breach of these civil rights and obligations may also give rise to a civil action for compensation, which can be filed by the injured party or his or her family.

The civil justice system can be important for victims of a crime, who may need money to compensate them for the harm they have suffered. For example, a victim who was raped or killed by a criminal may file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of the crime to recover damages for her or his injuries.

In some common law systems, such as the United States, attorneys are the primary actors in bringing civil cases. They are usually appointed to represent the plaintiff (the person who has been harmed).


Jurisdiction is the authority a court has to hear and decide legal cases. This authority is granted according to the subject matter of the case and the geographical area in which the issue took place.

In many nations, jurisdiction is divided into geographic regions, such as states or provinces, which have their own legal system and government. In a federation, such as the United States, federal courts exercise jurisdiction over state or provincial courts.

The question of which jurisdiction a party will have over a particular dispute is a complex and technical matter, but sometimes it is essential for the outcome of a case. For example, if a defendant is based in a different country than the plaintiff, the plaintiff may not be able to sue the defendant in a state where the parties reside (although they can remove their suit to a federal court).

A jurisdiction is also determined by the laws of the country in which a case is filed and whether there are any rules or exceptions. For example, if there is a law that requires all detainees be treated fairly in custody, the courts may have a strong interest in hearing a case involving this law, even though it may be against the interests of the defendant.

Some courts have subject-matter jurisdiction over a wide variety of claims or controversies, while others have limited jurisdiction. Some examples of subject-matter jurisdiction include civil rights violations, probate matters, and bankruptcy cases.

Certain courts, such as the United States Supreme Court and most state supreme courts, have discretionary jurisdiction, meaning that they can choose which cases to hear from among all the cases presented on appeal. This means that these courts generally only choose to hear cases that would settle important and controversial points of law.

Usually, this type of jurisdiction is reserved for cases that are not governed by the state’s criminal laws. For example, a judge who has expertise in bankruptcy cases cannot hear a personal injury lawsuit, because this case involves criminal issues. The same is true of family law judges who specialize in divorce and child custody cases.


Courts are the main bodies in a country’s legal system that try actual cases and controversies. They make decisions about whether a person is guilty of a crime, and what should be done with him or her. They also provide a peaceful way to resolve private disputes that people are unable to settle themselves.

In the United States, courts consist of a series of trial and appellate courts that handle different types of cases. The highest court is the U.S. Supreme Court, although the highest court in any state may hear cases dealing with federal law.

While federal judges and justices are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime term, state judges and justices are elected or selected for terms of office. This insulates them from the public’s passions, and it allows them to focus on what is best for the country rather than what is best for their political or personal careers.

Judges and justices are generally lawyers who have served as circuit court judges or as law professors. Because their positions are so high, they must have a good reputation and be respected by the public.

The courts are divided into the various levels of the legal system, and each level has its own rules for how it operates. The highest level of the courts is the Supreme Court, which hears comparatively few cases each year and is the only court with general original jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters.

There are many other courts in the United States, including 94 district or trial courts and 13 appellate courts. These courts try and decide a wide range of cases, from simple misdemeanors to complex felony cases.

Appeals courts sit below the Supreme Court and review appeals from federal court cases and decisions made by agencies of the government, such as the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. Typically, an appellate court will only overturn a trial court’s decision if the law was clearly erroneous.

A court’s purposes and responsibilities are often defined in its constitution or in its administrative laws. The fundamental purposes of courts include the promotion of justice, the protection of rights and interests, and the administration of justice. They also strive to meet several specific goals, including ensuring access to the court process for all who seek it and managing the business of the court in a manner that promotes efficiency and transparency.