Sources of law
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Sources of law means the origin from which rules of human conduct come into existence and derive legal force or binding characters. It also refers to the sovereign or the state from which the law derives its force or validity.
There are many factors of law that have contributed to the development of law. These factors are regarded as the sources of law. Legal customs, Divine right, Natural and legal rights, human rights, civil rights, and common law are often implied and unwritten sources of law that have been established over decades or centuries. Canon law and other forms of religious law form the basis for law derived from religious practices and doctrines or from sacred texts; this source of law is important where there is a state religion. Historical or judicial precedent and case law can modify or even create a source of law. The ultimate in written laws are the charter, the constitution, and the treaty, much of which form the foundation of modern legal systems. Legislation, rules, and regulations are often the source of laws which are codified and enforced by the legal system.
Precedent is one of the sources of law. The judgements passed by some of the learned jurists became another significant source of law. When there is no legislature on a particular point which arises in changing conditions, the judges depend on their own sense of right and wrong and decide the disputes. Such decisions become authority or guide for subsequent cases of a similar nature and they are called precedents. The dictionary of English law defines a judicial precedent as a judgement or decision of a court of law cited as an authority for deciding a similar state of fact in the same manner or on the same principle or by analogy. Precedent is more flexible than legislation and custom. It is always ready to be used by people in the court.
A custom is a rule which in a particular family or in a particular district or in a particular section, classes or tribes, has from long usage obtained the force of law. The dictionary of English law defines custom as a law not written, which being established by long use and consent of our ancestors has been and daily is put into practice. Custom as a source of law got recognition since the emergence of sovereignty on the horizon of jurisprudence. It is an exemption to the ordinary law of the land, and every custom is limited in its application. They are practices that have to be repeated for a period of time.
Legislation is that source of law which consists in the declaration of legal rules by a competent authority. Legislature is the direct source of law. Legislature frames new laws, amends the old laws and cancels existing laws in all countries. In modern times this is the most important source of law making. The term legislature means any form of law making. Its scope has now been restricted to a particular form of law making. It not only creates new rules of law it also sweeps away existing inconvenient rules.
From the definition of politician Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, defines legislation as Legislation (or "statutory law") is law which has been promulgated (or "enacted") by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it. (Another source of law is judge-made law or case law.) Before an item of legislation becomes law it may be known as a bill, and may be broadly referred to as "legislation" while it remains under consideration to distinguish it from other business. Legislation can have many purposes: to regulate, to authorize, to proscribe, to provide (funds), to sanction, to grant, to declare or to restrict.
Interpretation is a very important function of the court. The process of ascertaining the meaning of letters and expressions by the court is either interpretation or construction. Interpretation is the process by which the court seeks to ascertain the meaning of a particular legislature. It is through interpretation, the judiciary evolves the law and brings the changes in it and thus keeps the law abreast of law.Statutory laws are generally derived from direct laws passed by the legislative arm of government.
In some legal cultures, some of the documents produced in the process leading up to legislation are subsequently used as guidelines on how to interpret and understand an act of legislation and determine legislative intent.