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Portal:Law المصدر: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Law

The Law Portal

Lady Justice, often used as a personification of the law, holding a sword in one hand and scales in the other.

Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior, with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been variously described as a science and as the art of justice. State-enforced laws can be made by a group legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or established by judges through precedent, usually in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals may create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that adopt alternative ways of resolving disputes to standard court litigation. The creation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

Legal systems vary between jurisdictions, with their differences analysed in comparative law. In civil law jurisdictions, a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates the law. In common law systems, judges may make binding case law through precedent, although on occasion this may be overturned by a higher court or the legislature. Historically, religious law has influenced secular matters and is, as of the 21st century, still in use in some religious communities. Sharia law based on Islamic principles is used as the primary legal system in several countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The scope of law can be divided into two domains. Public law concerns government and society, including constitutional law, administrative law, and criminal law. Private law deals with legal disputes between individuals and/or organisations in areas such as contracts, property, torts/delicts and commercial law. This distinction is stronger in civil law countries, particularly those with a separate system of administrative courts; by contrast, the public-private law divide is less pronounced in common law jurisdictions. (Full article...)

Selected article

A Medieval drawing of ploughing with oxen

Carucage was a medieval English land tax enacted by King Richard I in 1194, based on the size—variously calculated—of the taxpayer's estate. It was a replacement for the danegeld, last imposed in 1162, which had become difficult to collect because of an increasing number of exemptions. Carucage was levied just six times: by Richard in 1194 and 1198; by John, his brother and successor, in 1200; and by John's son, Henry III, in 1217, 1220, and 1224, after which it was replaced by taxes on income and personal property.

The taxable value of an estate was initially assessed from the Domesday Survey, but other methods were later employed, such as valuations based on the sworn testimony of neighbours or on the number of plough-teams the taxpayer used. Carucage never raised as much as other taxes, but nevertheless helped to fund several projects. It paid the ransom for Richard's release in 1194, after he was taken prisoner by Leopold V, Duke of Austria; it covered the tax John had to pay Philip II of France in 1200 on land he inherited in that country; and it helped to finance Henry III's military campaigns in England and on continental Europe. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Picture of Charles Edward Magoon

Charles Edward Magoon (December 5, 1861 – January 14, 1920) was an American lawyer, judge, diplomat, and administrator who is best remembered as a governor of the Panama Canal Zone; he also served as Minister to Panama at the same time. His successes led to his appointment as an occupation governor of Cuba in 1906. He was the subject of several scandals during his career. As a legal advisor working for the United States Department of War, he drafted recommendations and reports that were used by Congress and the executive branch in governing the United States' new territories following the Spanish–American War. These reports were collected as a published book in 1902, then considered the seminal work on the subject. During his time as a governor, Magoon worked to put these recommendations into practice. In summary: Magoon was hugely successful in Panama but criticized for his tenure in Cuba. (Full article...)

Selected statute

A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. Statutes are rules made by legislative bodies; they are distinguished from case law or precedent, which is decided by courts, and regulations issued by government agencies. (Full article...)


The Limitation Act 1963 (c. 47) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that amended the statute of limitations to allow actions in some cases where the injured party had not discovered the injury until after the standard date of expiration. The Act was based on the report of the Davies Committee on Limitation of Actions in Cases of Personal Injury, created after the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Cartledge v Jopling, and the Committee notably produced their final report before Cartledge had been heard in the House of Lords. The draft bill was presented to Parliament on 6 May 1963; it was given the Royal Assent on 31 July and came into force on the same day.

The act allowed an injured party to bring a claim outside the normal statute of limitations period if he could show that he was not aware of the injuries himself until after the limitation period had expired and if he gained the permission of the court. After a series of problems emerged, including vagueness on a point even the House of Lords was unable to clarify and poor draftsmanship, the Act was repealed bit by bit during the 1970s, with the Limitation Act 1980 scrapping the last remaining sections. (Full article...)

Did you know...

Image of a courthouse.

  • ... that English gynaecologist Margaret Puxon, who started studying law to prevent boredom while on maternity leave, eventually became a barrister?

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Selected case

Case law, also used interchangeably with common law, is law that is based on precedents, that is the judicial decisions from previous cases, rather than law based on constitutions, statutes, or regulations. Case law uses the detailed facts of a case that have been resolved by courts or similar tribunals. These past decisions are called "case law", or precedent. Stare decisis—a Latin phrase meaning "let the decision stand"—is the principle by which judges are bound to such past decisions, drawing on established judicial authority to formulate their positions. (Full article...)


R v Secretary of State for Home Affairs ex parte O'Brien [1923] 2 KB 361 was a 1923 test case in English law that sought to have the internment and deportation of Irish nationalist sympathisers earlier that year declared legally invalid. In March 1923 between 80 and 100 suspected Irish nationalists in Britain were arrested by the police and sent to the Irish Free State under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act 1920 (ROIA). One of the detainees, Art O'Brien, challenged his detention in a test case at the Divisional Court. The case eventually went to both the Court of Appeal and House of Lords, who decided that the internments were illegal because the Irish Free State was an independent nation and so British Acts of Parliament no longer applied to it.

The decision effectively illegalised the ROIA and led to the immediate release of O'Brien and the other detained individuals, who sued the British Government for false imprisonment. The government pushed through the Restoration of Order in Ireland (Indemnity) Act 1923, which limited the money they had to pay the detainees, who eventually received £43,000. O'Brien himself was re-arrested and found guilty of sedition, and was imprisoned until 1924. (Full article...)

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