Outline of law

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to law:

Law (article link) is the set of rules and principles (laws) by which a society is governed, through enforcement by governmental authorities. Law is also the field that concerns the creation and administration of laws, and includes any and all legal systems.

Nature of law[edit]

Law can be described as all of the following:

  • Academic discipline – the body of knowledge given to - or received by - a disciple (student); a branch or sphere of knowledge, or field of study, that an individual has chosen to specialise in.
    • one of the humanities – an academic discipline that studies the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences.
  • System – set of elements (often called 'components' instead) and relationships which are different from relationships of the set or its elements to other elements or sets.
    • part of the legal system – legal scholarship and practice shapes how the law is interpreted and applied in societies

Legal systems[edit]

  • List of national legal systems
  • Common law
  • Civil law (legal system)
  • Religious law
    • Bahá'í laws
    • Biblical law, in Judaism and Christianity
    • Canon law, in Christianity
    • Canon (canon law) - a certain rule or norm of conduct or belief prescribed by the Church. The word "canon" comes from the Greek kanon, which in its original usage denoted a straight rod that was later the instrument used by architects and artificers as a measuring stick for making straight lines.
      • Canons of the Apostles
      • Canon law of the Anglican Communion
      • Canon law of the Catholic Church
        • Custom (Catholic canon law) - the repeated and constant performance of certain acts for a defined period of time, which, with the approval of the competent legislator, thereby acquire the force of law. A custom is an unwritten law introduced by the continuous acts of the faithful with the consent of the legitimate legislator.
        • Decree (Catholic canon law) - an order or law made by a superior authority for the direction of others.
        • Dispensation (Catholic canon law) - the exemption from the immediate obligation of law in certain cases. Its object is to modify the hardship often arising from the rigorous application of general laws to particular cases, and its essence is to preserve the law by suspending its operation in such cases.
        • Interpretation (Catholic canon law) - canonists provide and obey rules for the interpretation and acceptation of words, in order that legislation is correctly understood and the extent of its obligation is determined.
        • Obrogation - the enacting of a contrary law that is a revocation of a previous law. It may also be the partial cancellation or amendment of a law, decree, or legal regulation by the imposition of a newer one.
        • Promulgation (Catholic canon law) - the publication of a law by which it is made known publicly, and is required by canon law for the law to obtain legal effect.
    • Halakha, in Judaism
    • Hindu law
    • Jain law
    • Pāṭimokkha, in Theravada Buddhism
    • Sharia, in Islam

Law by source[edit]

Branches of law[edit]

Public law[edit]

Public law

  • Constitutional law
  • Tax law

Administrative law[edit]

  • Administrative law
  • Code of Federal Regulations

Criminal law[edit]

  • Criminal law (penal law)
  • Criminal procedure

Substantive law and adjectival law[edit]

Law of persons[edit]

  • Person (canon law)

Civil law[edit]

  • Civil law (common law)
  • Civil procedure
  • Civil rights
  • Common law
  • Environmental law
  • Family law

Laws by jurisdictional scope[edit]

  • International law
    • Public international law
    • Conflict of laws (Private international law)
    • Supranational law
    • Law of the European Union
      • Treaties of the European Union
      • Regulation (European Union)
      • Directive (European Union)
      • European Union decision
      • European Union legislative procedure
  • Municipal law


History of law

  • Cuneiform law
  • Babylonian law
  • Ancient Greek law
  • Roman law
  • Early Germanic law
  • Legal history of the Catholic Church
    • Jus antiquum

Basic legal concepts[edit]

  • Ignorantia juris non excusat
  • Presumption of innocence
    • Presumption (canon law)
  • Treason
  • Rights (Outline)
  • Rule of law

People who have influenced law[edit]

Canon law[edit]

  • Aquinas, St. Thomas (wrote influential Treatise on Law)
  • Benedict XIV, Pope
  • Gratian ("Father of Canon Law", founder of canon law jurisprudence; canon law as legal system)
  • Hostiensis (most influential decretist)
  • Gregory IX, Pope (promulgated the Decretales Gregorii IX)
  • Gasparri, Pietro (codified the 1917 Code of Canon Law)
  • John Paul II, Pope (promulgated the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches)
  • Penyafort, Raymond of (patron of canon lawyers, codified Decretales Gregorii IX)
  • Photios I of Constantinople (writer of a nomocanon)

Civil law[edit]

Common law[edit]

Other legal systems[edit]


Sources of law
International law
Privy council members

External links[edit]

  • Legal news and information network for attorneys and other legal professionals
  • Encyclopaedic project of the academic initiative in JurisPedia
  • Legal articles, news, and interactive maps
  • WorldLII – World Legal Information Institute
  • CommonLII – Commonwealth Legal Information Institute
  • AsianLII – Asian Legal Information Institute
  • AustLII – Australasian Legal Information Institute
  • BAILII – British and Irish Legal Information Institute
  • CanLII – Canadian Legal Information Institute
  • NZLII – New Zealand Legal Information Institute
  • PacLII – Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute