Portal:Law

Introduction

Iustitia ("Lady Justice") is a symbolic personification of the coercive power of a tribunal: a sword representing state authority, scales representing an objective standard, and a blindfold indicating that justice should be impartial.

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation 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.

A general distinction can be made between (a) civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, and (b) common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law. Historically, religious laws played a significant role even in settling of secular matters, and is still used in some religious communities. Islamic Sharia law is the world's most widely used religious law, and is used as the primary legal system in some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Refresh with new selections below (purge)

Selected article

Front of historic building used by the regional court in Dresden

On 1 July 2009, Marwa Ali El-Sherbini, an Egyptian woman and German resident, was killed during an appeal hearing at a court of law in Dresden, Germany. She was stabbed by Alex Wiens, an ethnic German immigrant from Russia against whom she had testified in a criminal case for verbal abuse. El-Sherbini's husband, who was present at the hearing, tried to intervene and was mistakenly shot by a police officer who was called to the court room. Wiens was arrested at the crime scene and subsequently tried for and found guilty of both murder and attempted murder. It was also found that Wiens's deeds constituted a heinous crime; he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The death of El-Sherbini immediately resulted in international reactions. The Egyptian public and media focused attention on the religious and racial hatred aspect of the killing, especially as the initial confrontation between the victim and perpetrator had happened because she wore an Islamic headscarf. In response to anti-German sentiments and public protests in Egypt and other countries, the German government issued a statement of condolence nine days after the incident. Wiens's trial for murder and attempted murder occurred under strict security measures and was observed by national and international media, diplomats and legal experts. (more...)

Selected biography

Assata Olugbala Shakur (born July 16, 1947, as JoAnne Deborah Byron, married name Chesimard) is an African-American activist and escaped convict who was a member of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and Black Liberation Army (BLA). Between 1971 and 1973, Shakur was accused of several crimes and made the subject of a multi-state manhunt.

In May 1973 Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike, during which New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and BLA member Zayd Malik Shakur were killed and Shakur and Trooper James Harper were wounded. Between 1973 and 1977, Shakur was indicted in relation to six other alleged criminal incidents—charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, bank robbery, and kidnapping—resulting in three acquittals and three dismissals. In 1977, she was convicted of the first-degree murder of Foerster and of seven other felonies related to the shootout.

Shakur was then incarcerated in several prisons, where her treatment drew criticism from some human rights groups. She escaped from prison in 1979 and has been living in Cuba in political asylum since 1984. Since May 2, 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has classified her as a "domestic terrorist" and offered a $1 million reward for assistance in her capture. Attempts to extradite her have resulted in letters to the Pope and a Congressional resolution. (more...)

Did you know...


Selected images

Selected case

A photograph of a group of people holding placards with "saveROE.com" on them

Roe v. Wade was the landmark 1973 United States Supreme Court decision that recognized abortion as a constitutional right, overturning several state laws against abortion. It remains one of the most controversial decisions in Supreme Court history. The decision in Roe v. Wade has sparked a decades-long national debate over when abortion should be legal; the role of the Supreme Court in constitutional adjudication; and the role of religious views in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade became one of the most politically significant Supreme Court decisions in history, reshaping national politics, dividing the nation into "pro-choice" and "pro-life" camps, and inspiring grassroots activism. Roe sparked widespread opposition, from those who viewed the Court's decision as illegitimate for straying too far from the text and history of the Constitution, as well as from those motivated by religious and moral beliefs about the inviolability of fetal life. It also attracted widespread support, from those who view the decision as necessary to achieve women's equality and personal freedom. (more...)

Selected statute

A scan of the appendix page of the Japanese Act on National Flag and Anthem

The Act on National Flag and Anthem is a law that formally established Japan's national flag and anthem. Before the ratification of the law on August 13, 1999, Japan had no official flag or anthem. From 1870, the Nisshōki flag , also referred to as the Hinomaru, was used in various capacities to represent Japan; Kimigayo was used as Japan's de facto anthem since 1880. After Japan's defeat in World War II, there were suggestions to make the Hinomaru and Kimgayo official symbols of Japan. However, due to their connection with Japan's militaristic past, an attempt in 1974 to make both symbols official failed to gain a majority in the Diet. The 1999 legislation was considered one of the most controversial laws passed by the Diet since 1990. Its passage was met with mixed feelings in Japan and abroad. While some Japanese hailed it as a step toward the future, others felt that it was a shift toward restoring nationalistic feelings and education. In the countries occupied by Japan in World War II, some felt that it was a shift toward the right. Other nations felt that the adoption of national symbols was purely an internal affair. (more...)

Legal news

Wikinews Crime and law portal
Read and  Wikinews

Quality content

Featured articles
Featured lists
Good articles

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

Subcategories

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 Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database