Portal:Law

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The Law Portal

Lady Justice, often used as a personification of the law, holding a sword in one hand and 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 also 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; while private law deals with legal disputes between parties 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

A wide red building, with numerous pillars and archways, stands in the middle of some gardens. A road runs just in front of the court.

India's unitary judicial system is made up of the Supreme Court of India at the national level, for the entire country and the 24 High Courts at the State level. These courts have jurisdiction over a state, a union territory or a group of states and union territories. Below the High Courts are a hierarchy of subordinate courts such as the civil courts, family courts, criminal courts and various other district courts. High Courts are instituted as constitutional courts under Part VI, Chapter V, Article 214 of the Indian Constitution.

The High Courts are the principal civil courts of original jurisdiction in the state along with District Courts which are subordinate to the High courts. However, High courts exercise their original civil and criminal jurisdiction only if the courts subordinate to the High court in the state are not competent (not authorized by law) to try such matters for lack of pecuniary, territorial jurisdiction. High courts may also enjoy original jurisdiction in certain matters if so designated specifically in a state or Federal law. e.g.: Company law cases are instituted only in a High court.

Selected biography

Ioan Constantin Filitti (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈo̯aŋ konstanˈtin fiˈliti]; first name also Ion; Francized Jean C. Filitti; May 8, 1879 – September 21, 1945) was a Romanian historian, diplomat and conservative theorist, best remembered for his contribution to social history, legal history, genealogy and heraldry. A member of the Conservative Party and an assistant of its senior leader Titu Maiorescu, he had aristocratic (boyar) origins and an elitist perspective. Among his diverse contributions, several focus on 19th-century modernization under the Regulamentul Organic regime, during which Romania was ruled upon by the Russian Empire. As a historian, Filitti is noted for his perfectionism, and for constantly revising his own works.

I. C. Filitti had an auspicious debut in diplomacy and politics, but his career was mired in controversy. A "Germanophile" by the start of World War I, he secretly opposed the pact between Romania and the Entente Powers, and opted to stay behind in German-occupied territory. He fell into disgrace for serving the collaborationist Lupu Kostaki as Prefect and head of the National Theater, although he eventually managed to overturn his death sentence for treason. Filitti became a recluse, focusing on his scholarship and press polemics, but was allowed to serve on the Legislative Council after 1926.

In his political tracts, written well after the Conservative Party's demise, I. C. Filitti preserves the orthodox conservative principles of Maiorescu. His attachment to boyar tradition was expanded into a critique of centralized government, etatism and Romanian liberalism. Toward the end of his life, he supported the dictatorial regime known as National Renaissance Front. (Full article...)

Selected statute

A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative body, a stage in the process of legislation. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. Statutes are laws made by legislative bodies; they are distinguished from case law or precedent, which is decided by courts, regulations issued by government agencies, and oral or customary law.[better source needed] Statutes may originate with the legislative body of a country, state or province, county, or municipality. (Full article...)


The Obscene Publications Act 1959 (7 & 8 Eliz. 2. c. 66) is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom Parliament that significantly reformed the law related to obscenity in England and Wales. Prior to the passage of the Act, the law on publishing obscene materials was governed by the common law case of R v Hicklin, which had no exceptions for artistic merit or the public good. During the 1950s, the Society of Authors formed a committee to recommend reform of the existing law, submitting a draft bill to the Home Office in February 1955. After several failed attempts to push a bill through Parliament, a committee finally succeeded in creating a viable bill, which was introduced to Parliament by Roy Jenkins and given royal assent on 29 July 1959, coming into force on 29 August 1959 as the Obscene Publications Act 1959. With the committee consisting of both censors and reformers, the actual reform of the law was limited, with several extensions to police powers included in the final version.

The Act created a new offence for publishing obscene material, repealing the common law offence of obscene libel which was previously used, and also allows Justices of the Peace to issue warrants allowing the police to seize such materials. At the same time it creates two defences; firstly, the defence of innocent dissemination, and secondly the defence of public good. The Act has been used in several high-profile cases, such as the trials of Penguin Books for publishing Lady Chatterley's Lover and Oz for the Schoolkids OZ issue. (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?

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Selected case

Case law, also used interchangeably with common law, is a 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 legal 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...)


Image of the Chief Justice of India, who presided over the proceeding.

Government of NCT of Delhi versus Union of India & Another [C. A. No. 2357 of 2017] is a civil appeal heard before the Supreme Court of India by a five-judge constitution bench of the court. The case was filed as an appeal to an August 2016 verdict of the Delhi High Court that ruled that the lieutenant governor of Delhi exercised "complete control of all matters regarding National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi", and was heard by the Supreme Court in November and December 2017.

The supreme court pronounced its judgment on 4 July 2018; it said the lieutenant governor of Delhi had no independent decision-making powers and was bound to follow the "aid and advice" of the Delhi chief-minister-headed council of ministers of the Government of Delhi on all matters except those pertaining to police, public order and land. The verdict was positively received almost unanimously by politicians from multiple parties. (Full article...)

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