LAW Latin lex. 1. A rule of action
dictated by a superior being. 1 Bl. Com. 38. The command of a superior. 1
Shars. Bl. Com. 39. 2. In an important use "law"
excludes the methods and remedies peculiar to equity and admiralty, and
confines the idea to the action of tribunals proceeding by fixed
rules, and employing remedies operative directly upon the
person or property of the individual; as, in the expressions; a court
of law, a remedy at law, an action at law, at law.
Abbott's Law Dictionary.
That which is laid down, ordained, or established . A rule or method
according to which phenomena or actions co-exist or follow each other.
Law, in its generic sense, is a body of rules of action or conduct
prescribed by controlling authority, and having binding legal force.
Black's Law Dictionary (1990)
In its most general and comprehensive sense, law signifies a
rule of action; and this term is applied indiscriminately to all kinds of
action; whether animate or inanimate, rational or
irrational. 1 Bl. Com. 38. In its more confined sense, law denotes the rule,
not of actions in general, but of human action or conduct. In the civil
code of Louisiana, art. 1, it is defined to be "a solemn expression
of the legislative will." Vide Toull. Dr. Civ. Fr. tit. prel. s. 1, n. 4; 1
Bouv. Inst. n. 1-3.
2. Law is generally divided into four principle classes, namely; Natural law, the law of nations, public law, and private or civil law. When considered in relation to its origin, it is statute law or common law. When examined as to its different systems it is divided into civil law, common law, canon law. When applied to objects, it is civil, criminal, or penal. It is also divided into natural law and positive law. Into written law, lex scripta; and unwritten law, lex non scripta. Into law merchant, martial law, municipal law, and foreign law. When considered as to their duration, laws are immutable and arbitrary or positive; when as their effect, they are prospective and retrospective. These will be separately considered.
LAW, POSITIVE. Positive law, as used in opposition to natural law, may be considered in a threefold point of view. 1. The universal voluntary law, or those rules which are presumed to be law, by the uniform practice of nations in general, and by the manifest utility of the rules themselves. 2. The customary law, or that which, from motives of convenience, has, by tacit, but implied agreement, prevailed, not generally indeed among all nations, nor with so permanent a utility as to become a portion of the universal voluntary law, but enough to have acquired a prescriptive obligation among certain states so situated as to be mutually benefited by it. 1 Taunt. 241. 3. The conventional law, or that which is agreed between particular states by express treaty, a law binding on the parties among whom such treaties are in force. 1 Chit. Comm. Law, 28. A LAW DICTIONARY ADAPTED TO THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND OF THE SEVERAL STATES OF THE AMERICAN UNION by John Bouvier Revised Sixth Edition, 1856
(which may be written or unwritten) by which a country is
governed and the activities of people and organizations controlled;
in particular, an Act of Parliament which has
received the Royal Assent, or an Act of Congress
which has been signed by the President of the USA,
or which has been passed by Congress over the
President's veto; a law has to be passed by Parliament; the
government has proposed a new law to regulate the sale of
goods on Sundays.
Dictionary of Law published by Peter Collin
LAW 1. a binding custom or practice
of a community : a rule of conduct or action
prescribed or formally recognized as binding or
enforced by a controlling authority (2) : the whole body of such
customs, practices, or rules (3) : COMMON LAW b (1) : the control
brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law (2) : the
action of laws considered as a means of redressing wrongs.
|law 1) any system of regulations to govern the conduct of the people of a community, society or nation, in response to the need for regularity, consistency and justice based upon collective human experience. Custom or conduct governed by the force of the local king were replaced by laws almost as soon as man learned to write. The earliest lawbook was written about 2100 B.C. for Ur-Nammu, king of Ur, a Middle Eastern city-state. Within three centuries Hammurabi, king of Babylonia, had enumerated laws of private conduct, business and legal precedents, of which 282 articles have survived. The term "eye for an eye" (or the equivalent value) is found there, as is drowning as punishment for adultery by a wife (while a husband could have slave concubines), and unequal treatment of the rich and the poor was codified here first. It took another thousand years before written law codes developed among the Greek city-states (particularly Athens) and Israel. China developed similar rules of conduct, as did Egypt. The first law system which has a direct influence on the American legal system was the codification of all classic law ordered by the Roman Emperor Justinian in 528 and completed by 534, becoming the law of the Roman empire. This is known as the Justinian Code, upon which most of the legal systems of most European nations are based to this day. The principal source of American law is the common law, which had its roots about the same time as Justinian, among Angles, Britons and later Saxons in Britain. William the Conqueror arrived in 1066 and combined the best of this Anglo-Saxon law with Norman law, which resulted in the English common law, much of which was by custom and precedent rather than by written code. The American colonies followed the English Common Law with minor variations, and the four-volume Commentaries on the Laws of England by Sir William Blackstone (completed in 1769) was the legal "bible" for all American frontier lawyers and influenced the development of state codes of law. To a great extent common law has been replaced by written statutes, and a gigantic body of such statutes have been enacted by federal and state legislatures supposedly in response to the greater complexity of modern life. 2) n. a statute, ordinance or regulation enacted by the legislative branch of a government and signed into law, or in some nations created by decree without any democratic process. This is distinguished from "natural law," which is not based on statute, but on alleged common understanding of what is right and proper (often based on moral and religious precepts as well as common understanding of fairness and justice). 3) n. a generic term for any body of regulations for conduct, including specialized rules (military law), moral conduct under various religions and for organizations, usually called "bylaws."|