Law is an organized system of rules designed and administered by governmental or civic organizations to legally regulate conduct, with its exact definition again a matter of long-standing debate. It can be defined as the study and practice of justice as it applies to human beings. It is believed that law is the application by individuals to a society, either in the personal or public sector. It also includes other fields such as ethics, sociology and psychology.
Law is governed by statutory law which is set down by the legislative body of a country. Additionally there are civil laws that deal with private matters such as wills, private property and even corporate laws. Criminal law deals with violations of the penal law and can be divided further into two classes; common law and criminal law. There are also numerous special cases that fall under the jurisdiction of the court, including immigration laws, trusts, bankruptcies, and various acts attributed to celebrities and members of the press.
Common law is that which arises from statutes enacted by the legislative bodies of sovereign states and is therefore derived from general statutes such as the Constitution of the United States or Canada. Statutes generally include the entire body of laws regulating public conduct, including civil law, criminal law, and private law. Civil law is not subject to the authority of the legislature. Criminal law, on the other hand, is subject to the limitation imposed by legislation. Private law, which includes things such as trademark laws, copyrights, and trade laws, is referred to as personal law.
Property law, including real estate laws, is governed by a set of statutes known as general regulations of property. These include the Real Estate and Business Practices Act, the Personal Property Securities Act, and the Estate Foreclosure Act. The powers of the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, include the ability to oversee the implementation of the new laws; to investigate and prosecute cases involving deceptive advertising; and to impose rules and regulations concerning representations that are misleading and deceptive. One example of a deceitful advertising rule is the requirement that television advertisements be blacked out when they are used by children as well as by senior citizens. The purpose of these rules is to protect consumers from false and deceptive advertising claims.
One jurisdiction in which cases are often handled by civil law practitioners involves wrongful death and other claims involving civil wrongs against corporations. In the United States, the wrongful death claim is governed by the law of equity. This is an area of civil law that is concerned with determining who should receive financial compensation for the death of a person. Another area is that of negligence law that handles cases involving the carelessness of others.
There are various areas that fall under the area of contract law. Some of these include consumer and franchise agreements, lease agreements, establishment of partnerships, and licensing practices. In addition, there are many proprietary theories that touch on areas such as trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. In the area of malpractice law, there are cases that deal with a doctor killing his patient, the withholding of medical records, billing theft, and other malpractice issues. A wrongful death claim may also follow a professional negligence case, in which a professional is negligent in providing care to a patient or creating a dangerous situation.
When someone becomes injured or suffers a physical disability that requires legal representation, they can pursue either civil law litigation or criminal litigation. In most instances, the two types of cases proceed in parallel, with the government proving the fault of the defendant and the plaintiff proving the innocence of the defendant. In criminal litigation, the government would prove its guilt through the presentation of evidence. Civil law relies on its proof, typically through witnesses and statements. The success or failure of any civil litigation will be based on the evidence provided. If a case is successful, the plaintiff receives compensation, and the defendant is held accountable for their actions.
A career in civil law is highly diverse, including serving as an attorney in a number of different fields. While many lawyers work solely in the realm of litigation, others specialise in a specific area such as labor or environmental law. Many lawyers work with local and national governments on a variety of cases, representing clients that have been affected by regulations set forth by federal, state, and local government entities. Other lawyers to find work in the private sector, working with businesses in a number of different industries to provide litigation services.