Law is an ordered set of rules developed and enforced by governmental or civic institutions to govern behavior, with the precise definition a matter of long-standing debate. It is also commonly defined as the study and the discipline of justice. It deals with disputes between individuals, groups or organizations and the legal protection that they are entitled to enjoy. The legal system is composed of three branches: criminal law, civil law and Procedure law. Within each branch there are subsidiary branches such as property, corporate law, civil procedure, labor law, Family law and international relations law.
Civil law involves the rules governing the enforcement of contracts, property rights, private right, trial by equity and privileges and immunities of citizens. Criminal law is the area of law that addresses conduct in violation of the criminal laws regulating the state. The state’s attorney general and state police are responsible for the detection and prosecution of criminal activity. In some states there exists a separate criminal court of equity, which supervises all the courts of criminal jurisdiction. The supreme court of the United States is the highest court of the land and is responsible for the determination of Constitutional questions, and dissolves all cases when the federal Constitution becomes inadequate to resolve a conflict.
The rule of law is a complex system that governs the administration of public institutions, providing checks and balances against governmental abuse of power and influence. It is considered a vital aspect of a democratic society in which a certain level of procedural fairness is necessary for citizens to be properly guided by the law. There are two opposing schools of thought that hold differing views on the nature of the rule of law. According to the progressive school, there are no limits to the rule of law, and all laws are equal. According to the traditional view, laws are rigid codes that restrict the powers of citizens and organizations, limiting their capacity to act.
Civil rights are closely associated with the rule of law. It is the right and responsibility of every citizen to seek justice and fair treatment in the matter of personal injury or property damage. Civil lawyers are advocates who assist persons who have been harmed by the actions or inactions of government agencies. They represent their clients before the tribunals and law enforcement authorities and in other legal proceedings. Civil lawyers have an important role in guaranteeing freedom of speech and other civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution and other legal documents.
Lawyers, as distinguished from other professionals, have three distinguishing characteristics that distinguish them from other people who practice any professional service. First, they do not act on behalf of their clients but perform a specialized function as representatives of the public. Secondly, in the area of criminal law, they are bound to take care of their clients in matters of defense and criminal prosecution, and thirdly, they must follow the directions of the law as laid down by the state in matters of tort law. These three distinguishing characteristics of the profession are inherent in civil law professionals, and are also inherent in the common law as it has developed over time.
The interests protected by civil law professionals may differ from those of lawyers. For example, they defend people who have been attacked physically or psychologically by another person, while lawyers focus on issues arising in criminal cases such as conspiracy, perjury, abuse of process or rights, and libel and slander. The interests protected by public international law may work in the area of immigration and human rights, including the protection of workers and the environment. Similarly, private international law may work on issues such as child custody, property settlement, and family laws.