Portal:Law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Law Portal

Law is a system of rules, usually enforced through a set of institutions. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a primary social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading on derivatives markets. Property law defines rights and obligations related to the transfer and title of personal (often referred to as chattel) and real property. Trust law applies to assets held for investment and financial security, while tort law allows claims for compensation if a person's rights or property are harmed. If the harm is criminalised in a statute, criminal law offers means by which the state can prosecute the perpetrator. Constitutional law provides a framework for the creation of law, the protection of human rights and the election of political representatives. Administrative law is used to review the decisions of government agencies, while international law governs affairs between sovereign states in activities ranging from trade to environmental regulation or military action. Writing in 350 BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle declared: "The rule of law is better than the rule of any individual."

Legal systems elaborate rights and responsibilities in a variety of ways. A general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions, which codify their laws, and common law systems, where judge made law is not consolidated. In some countries, religion informs the law. Law provides a rich source of scholarly inquiry, into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis or sociology. Law also raises important and complex issues concerning equality, fairness and justice. "In its majestic equality", said the author Anatole France in 1894, "the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread." In a typical democracy, the central institutions for interpreting and creating law are the three main branches of government, namely an impartial judiciary, a democratic legislature, and an accountable executive. To implement and enforce the law and provide services to the public, a government's bureaucracy, the military and police are vital. While all these organs of the state are creatures created and bound by law, an independent legal profession and a vibrant civil society inform and support their progress. (More…)

Show new selections

Selected article

The prison occupied two locations, the first c. 1329–1811, and the second 1811–1842. The image above is of the first Marshalsea in the 18th century.

The Marshalsea was a prison on the south bank of the River Thames in Southwark, now part of London. From the 14th century until it closed in 1842, it housed men under court martial for crimes at sea, including those accused of "unnatural crimes," political figures and intellectuals accused of sedition, and—most famously—London's debtors, the length of their stay determined largely by the whim of their creditors.

Run privately for profit, as were all prisons in England until the 19th century, the Marshalsea looked like an Oxbridge college and functioned as an extortion racket. For prisoners who could pay, it came with access to a bar, shop, and restaurant, as well as the crucial privilege of being allowed out during the day, which meant debtors could earn money to satisfy their creditors. Everyone else was crammed into one of nine small rooms with dozens of others, possibly for decades for the most modest of debts, which increased as unpaid prison fees accumulated. A parliamentary committee reported in 1729 that 300 inmates had starved to death within a three-month period, and that eight to ten prisoners were dying every 24 hours in the warmer weather. (more...)

Selected biography

A large stone castle, with imposing towers either side of the gateway, is partly obscured by trees on the green in front of the building. A road leads up to the castle, at the end of which are parked six cars outside the high wooden doors.

The Samlesbury witches were three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury – Jane Southworth, Jennet Bierley, and Ellen Bierley – accused by a 14-year-old girl, Grace Sowerbutts, of practising witchcraft. Their trial at Lancaster Assizes in England on 19 August 1612 was one in a series of witch trials held there over two days, among the most famous in English history. The trials were unusual for England at that time in two respects: Thomas Potts, the clerk to the court, published the proceedings in his The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster; and the number of the accused found guilty and hanged was unusually high, ten at Lancaster and another at York. However, all three of the Samlesbury women were acquitted.

The charges against the women included child murder and cannibalism. In contrast, the others tried at the same assizes, who included the Pendle witches, were accused of maleficium – causing harm by witchcraft. The case against the three women collapsed "spectacularly" when the chief prosecution witness, Grace Sowerbutts, was exposed by the trial judge to be "the perjuring tool of a Catholic priest". (more...)

Did you know...

  • ... DYK3
  • ... DYK4
  • ... DYK5
  • ... DYK6
  • ... DYK7
  • ... DYK8


Selected picture

A seated barrister
Image by unknown photographer; uploaded by Cliniic
Jawaharlal Nehru at the Allahabad High Court

Selected case

Al-Kateb v Godwin was a decision of the High Court of Australia, which ruled on 6 August 2004 that the indefinite detention of a stateless person was lawful. The case concerned Ahmed Al-Kateb, a Palestinian man born in Kuwait, who moved to Australia in 2000 and applied for a temporary protection visa. The Minister for Immigration's decision refusing his application was upheld by the Refugee Review Tribunal and the Federal Court. In 2002 Al-Kateb declared that he wished to return to either Kuwait or Gaza. However, when it was discovered that no country would accept Al-Kateb, rendering him stateless, he was detained under the policy of mandatory detention. The two main issues considered by the High Court were whether the Migration Act 1958 (the legislation governing immigration to Australia) permitted a person in Al-Kateb's situation to be detained indefinitely, and if so, whether this was permissible under the Constitution of Australia. A majority of the court decided that the Act did allow indefinite detention, and that the Act was not unconstitutional. The controversy surrounding the outcome of the case resulted in a review of the circumstances of twenty-four stateless people in immigration detention, nine of whom, including Al-Kateb, were ultimately granted bridging visas and allowed to enter the community. (more...)

Selected statute

A scan of an old document

The Petition of Right is a major English constitutional document that sets out specific liberties of the subject that the king is prohibited from infringing. Passed on 7 June 1628, the Petition contains restrictions on non-Parliamentary taxation, forced billeting of soldiers, imprisonment without cause, and restricts the use of martial law. Following disputes between Parliament and King Charles I over the execution of the Thirty Years' War, Parliament refused to grant subsidies to support the war effort, leading to Charles gathering "forced loans" without Parliamentary approval and arbitrarily imprisoning those who refused to pay. Moreover, the war footing of the nation led to the forced billeting of soldiers within the homes of private citizens, and the declaration of martial law over large swathes of the country.

In response, the House of Commons prepared a set of four Resolutions, decrying these actions and restating the validity of Magna Carta and the legal requirement of habeas corpus. A committee under Sir Edward Coke drafted the Petition of Right, which was ratified by both Houses of Parliament on the 26th and 27th of May. The Petition was accepted by the King on 2 June and full ratified on 7 June. (more...)

Legal news

Wikinews Crime and law portal
  • March 27: Six aid workers dead in ambush in South Sudan
  • March 16: U.S. judge blocks second Trump travel ban
  • March 15: 'Carlos the Jackal' on trial for third life sentence
  • March 13: Malaysian police chief publicly confirms murdered man was Kim Jong Nam
  • March 8: Wikileaks publishes files on CIA hacking abilities
  • February 28: Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong to be charged with murder of Kim Jong Nam with VX nerve agent
  • February 23: Break-in attempted at mortuary housing remains of Kim Jong Nam
  • February 19: Malaysian authorities arrest fourth suspect in killing of Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader
  • January 28: German teenager sentenced to six years for stabbing police officer
  • January 27: Germany to drop 'lese majeste' law

Quality content

Featured articles
Featured lists
Good articles

For a list of good articles on legal topics, see here.

Categories

Things you can do

Clipboard.svg

Related portals

P philosophy.png A coloured voting box.svg Nuvola filesystems folder home.svg Arrest.svg HumanRightsLogo.svg Sample 09-F9 protest art, Free Speech Flag by John Marcotte.svg Scale of justice 2 new.jpeg Supreme Court.jpg
Philosophy Politics Society Criminal justice Human rights Freedom of speech Law of
England and Wales
Supreme Court of
the United States

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Wikispecies 
Species

Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Portal:Law&oldid=714780186"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Law
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Portal:Law"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA