Portal:Law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Law Portal

Lady Justice, often used as a personification of the law, holding a sword in one 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

Mandamus (/mænˈdməs/; lit.''we command'') is a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a court to any government, subordinate court, corporation, or public authority, to do (or forbear from doing) some specific act which that body is obliged under law to do (or refrain from doing), and which is in the nature of public duty, and in certain cases one of a statutory duty. It cannot be issued to compel an authority to do something against statutory provision. For example, it cannot be used to force a lower court to take a specific action on applications that have been made, but if the court refuses to rule one way or the other then a mandamus can be used to order the court to rule on the applications.

Mandamus may be a command to do an administrative action or not to take a particular action, and it is supplemented by legal rights. In the American legal system it must be a judicially enforceable and legally protected right before one suffering a grievance can ask for a mandamus. A person can be said to be aggrieved only when they are denied a legal right by someone who has a legal duty to do something and abstains from doing it. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Choor Singh Sidhu (19 January 1911 – 31 March 2009), known professionally as Choor Singh, was a Singaporean lawyer who served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore and, particularly after his retirement from the bench, a philanthropist and writer of books about Sikhism. Born to a family of modest means in Punjab, India, he came to Singapore at four years of age. He completed his secondary education in the top class at Raffles Institution in 1929, then worked as a clerk in a law firm before becoming a civil servant in the Official Assignee's office.

Encouraged by the Assistant Official Assignee, James Walter Davy Ambrose (who was later appointed a High Court Judge), to study law, Choor Singh enrolled as an external student at the University of London, passing the matriculation examination and intermediate LL.B. examination. In 1948 he was appointed a coroner, and the following year was elevated to the post of magistrate, becoming the first Indian to hold such a position in colonial Malaya. Following law studies at Gray's Inn on a government scholarship, he became a Barrister-at-Law in 1955. He was appointed a district judge in 1960 and a judge of the Supreme Court in 1963. Especially noted for his criminal judgments, Singh was the first Singapore judge to impose the death penalty on a woman. (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 Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 (c. 31) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that significantly reformed the common law doctrine of privity and "thereby [removed] one of the most universally disliked and criticised blots on the legal landscape". The second rule of the doctrine of privity, that a third party could not enforce a contract for which he had not provided consideration, had been widely criticised by lawyers, academics and members of the judiciary. Proposals for reform via an act of Parliament were first made in 1937 by the Law Revision Committee in their Sixth Interim Report. No further action was taken by the government until the 1990s, when the Law Commission proposed a new draft bill in 1991, and presented their final report in 1996. The bill was introduced to the House of Lords in December 1998, and moved to the House of Commons on 14 June 1999. It received royal assent on 11 November 1999, coming into force immediately as the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999. (Full article...)

Did you know...

  • ... that although Elizabeth Richards Tilton (pictured) was a central figure in a six-month-long trial, she was never allowed to speak in court?

Selected images

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...)


A modern photograph to the entrance to Jin Long Si Temple

Eng Foong Ho v. Attorney-General is the name of two cases of the Singapore courts, a High Court decision delivered in 2008 and the 2009 judgment by the Court of Appeal. The main issue raised by the case was whether the Collector of Land Revenue had treated the plaintiffs (later appellants), who were devotees of the Jin Long Si Temple, unequally by compulsorily acquiring for public purposes the land on which the temple stood but not the lands of a Hindu mission and a Christian church nearby. It was alleged that the authorities had acted in violation of Article 12(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, which guarantees the rights to equality before the law and equal protection of the law.

The High Court held that the plaintiffs lacked locus standi to bring the action as they were not the temple's legal owners. In any case, as there was evidence that the authorities had rational reasons for treating the temple property differently from the property of the Mission and the Church, the High Court found that there had been no breach of Article 12(1). Furthermore, the Court determined that the plaintiffs were guilty of inordinate delay in bringing the action.

On appeal, this decision was upheld in part by the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found that the plaintiffs (appellants) had locus standi to bring the action as they were members of a Buddhist association, for whose benefit the temple property was held by its trustees. In addition, the Court found that the plaintiffs had not been guilty of inordinate delay in commencing the suit. However, the Court agreed with the trial judge that the Collector had not acted in violation of Article 12(1). In determining this issue, the Court held that the test to be applied is "whether there is a reasonable nexus between the state action taken and the object of the law". Such a nexus will be absent if the action amounts to "intentional and arbitrary discrimination" or intentional systematic discrimination. It is insufficient if any inequality is due to "inadvertence or inefficiency", unless this occurs on a very substantial scale. In addition, inequalities arising from a reasonable administrative policy or which are mere errors of judgment are insufficient to constitute a violation of Article 12(1). (Full article...)

More Did you know (auto-generated)

Nuvola apps filetypes.svg

Legal news

Wikinews Crime and law portal
Read and edit Wikinews

Related portals

General images

The following are images from various law-related articles on Wikipedia.

Topics

Quality content

Extended content
Featured articles
Featured lists
Did you know? articles