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 Definition Body of rules of conduct of binding legal force and effect, prescribed, recognized, and enforced by a controlling authority. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup category Law [Editors asked to check categories]
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Article needs work

I've made some hasty changes to the second paragraph to get out the statements that were not true for U.S. law, but this article needs a lot of work. I suggest that everyone interested in working on it (including, of course, the original author, and thanks for such a good start -- I really like the international approach) touch base here to coordinate their efforts, either by working on separate sections at the same time or by taking turns at the whole thing. I'd like to see this article become the showpiece of the Law Workgroup, so when it gets to a place where my experience editing legal articles would help, let me know, and I'll go over it. -- k kay shearin 21:31, 22 February 2007 (CST)

Overall structure of article

This article, a typical Wikipedia article, attempts to sum up every major area of the law in one article, and as a result simply cannot succeed in providing a clear exposition of any of them. Why should an article about discipline X take the form of a list of definitions of all the subdisciplines of X? It shouldn't. See Biology for a different approach. The topic of the article is not "categories of law," but instead, law. Hence (I think) it should dwell quite a bit on the philosophical question, "What is law?" and introduce some of the problems and subdisciplines of law as part of an interesting narrative about the law. This is difficult, but it's only such an article that will actually satisfy a demand for an article with the title "law." The function of this article is not to act as a table of contents to the rest of law-related articles, but to introduce the topic named in the title, for people who presumably need an introduction. Imagine, for instance, trying to explain what law itself is to a college student who is considering studying the law. I don't have any specific suggestions as to how the article might be structured, but I do think that at present it lacks anything like an interesting, cohesive narrative that might make someone actually want to read it from beginning to end. --Larry Sanger 17:29, 23 February 2007 (CST)

I agree with Larry Sanger, the Wikipedia article is a mess, and should probably not be inserted. What we really need is someone with a background in jurisprudence, or who has at least taken a jurisprudence class (I haven't), to give a basic philosophical overview of what law is. I might be able to add something on law in pre- written language societies when I'm a little less busy. Scott Dubin
In case this helps, Black's law dictionary 8th edition says law is:
"law. 1. The regime that orders human activities and relations through systematic application of the force of politically organized society, or through social pressure, backed by force, in such a society; the legal system <respect and obey the law>. 2. The aggregate of legislation, judicial precedents, and accepted legal principles; the body of authoritative grounds of judicial and administrative action; esp., the body of rules, standards, and principles that the courts of a particular jurisdiction apply in deciding controversies brought before them <the law of the land>." Scott Dubin

Call for comment

I was the person to first start (copy and paste) this lemma, primarily to entice the other people in the Law workinggroup to help improve it. However, the forum topic I started hasn't yielded any response up to now and I just found there was a discussion going here. I will summarily repost what I wrote at the forum;

I copied the law article from WiKiPedia as a place holder. The question is do we think this article should be amended or completely rewritten? Either way I think we should split up this article as it is too long. It might be an idea to make a short page on what divisions can be made within the field of law; Civil law / Common law - and subdivisions in criminal-, contract-, property-, administrative- and constitutional law. And make every subdivision a separate article. An article on law should not delve in too deeply on the material side of legislation, but rather have a general overview with links to in-depth articles.

And finally I think we need to have an article explaining the notion of le principe de la séparation des pouvoirs, because the current explanation is too flimsy I think. Frank - 25-02-2007 13:00 CET

  • EDIT* Added headings.

Suggestions for article structure

You're all right that this topic needs a fresh new approach, with this page discussing the philosophy of law (with or without the history of law ?) but also laying out some framework for the separate articles discussing the categories into which the study of law is divided. I'd like to see separate articles titled "Legal system of . . . " (describing the court system and legal authorities the way the Harvard Blue Book does for the U.S. states {and some British stuff} but also discussing the history and current practices) for countries, U.S. states, constituent countries in the U.K., and so forth, and I'd also like to see "Law Enforcement" treated as its own subjects (both criminal and regulatory), but I suggest that "legislative systems" (= the system for enacting written laws) should be dealt with under the discussion of the governing system of a place, not in separate articles.

I agree with the distinctions already made and that the list of topics (here or elsewhere) linked to their separate articles should include civil law vs. common law, canon law vs. secular law, civil vs. criminal, law vs. equity, legislative vs. administrative, litigation vs. alternative dispute resolution, and statutory vs. precedential. -- k kay shearin 03:15, 26 February 2007 (CST)

Two articles titled "Law"?

I am wondering if it is even possible, or desirable, to have one article titled "Law," since the main concepts and what is regarded as important about the subject is--perhaps unlike any other subject, even politics or philosophy--so completely dependent upon the cultural milieu. Would it really be so redundant to have a U.S. version and a Commonwealth version? --Larry Sanger 14:57, 24 April 2007 (CDT)

Actually U.S. and Commonwealth law are much more closely related than U.S. law and, say, French or Spanish or Chinese law. Most English-speaking countries employ a common law system (where courts make much of the law), while most of the rest of the world has civil law systems. I propose the structure of this article should basically do the following:
  1. say what law is in the most fundamental sense - a means of settling disputes and preventing violent resolutions, of protecting society from persons whose behavior strays too far from its rules, and later of shaping human behavior for perceived social benefits.
  2. discuss how the law has developed in broad strokes from ancient times (Code of Hammurabi and similar king-made decrees to the modern legislative process)
  3. discuss the split between common law, civil law, and other systems (primarily religious law, although among these I believe only Sharia is actually enforced on a national level anywhere)
  4. leave the rest to more specific articles on topics such as common law, criminal law, civil trials, etc.
Cheers! Brian Dean Abramson 21:52, 24 April 2007 (CDT)

Brian, I agree entirely. Let's do it. --Larry Sanger 09:29, 14 May 2007 (CDT)

The split between common- and civil law ...

If we are to discuss the "split" between common- and civil law, we better be ready to include a hefty part of legal history. Roman law will certainly need to have its own (very large) lemma and I cannot imagine Justinianus, Cicero, Accursius, the Corpus Iuris Civilis, Pandectae, and the Digestae not having their own lemmata. Frank van Geelkerken 11:09, 13 May 2007 (CDT)

  • I would class all of those under civil law, which generally describes law made by detailed proscription, rather than through court decisions as with common law. Brian Dean Abramson 20:39, 13 May 2007 (CDT)
    • In that case the lemma for civil law will be very long. I do not think you can simply state that Roman law is the same as civil law. Even though civil law is based on Roman law, it is not possible to define them as being the same.
      Do not forget that Roman law also started as law made through court decisions. It was not until the Corpus Iuris Civilis that it became (more) codified.

Status = 4

This is still almost entirely the Wikipedia article, if I'm not mistaken. Obviously, then, it is status = 4, not status = 1 (!).

Perhaps we should start over. --Larry Sanger 10:24, 16 October 2007 (CDT)

I think it should be blanked and changed to a disambig page. --Robert W King 11:34, 16 October 2007 (CDT)
There seems to be some work going on, but
Please be aware that the rest of this article is written from a British perspective and is, therefore, not generally true of the United States, even where it specifically refers to the U.S.

simply can't fly as a "Law" core article. British Law, yes. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:39, 17 July 2009 (UTC)