Monday, July 2, 2007


The history of law is closely connected to the development of civilizations. Ancient Egyptian law, dating as far back as 3000 BC, had a civil code that was probably broken into twelve books. It was based on the concept of Ma'at, characterised by tradition, rhetorical speech, social equality and impartiality.[60] Around 1760 BC under King Hammurabi, ancient Babylonian law was codified and put in stone for the public to see in the marketplace; this became known as the Codex Hammurabi. But like Egyptian law, which is pieced together by historians from records of litigation, few sources remain and much has been lost over time. The influence of these earlier laws on later civilisations was small.[61] The Torah from the Old Testament is probably the oldest body of law still relevant for modern legal systems, dating back to 1280 BC. It takes the form of moral imperatives, like the Ten Commandments and the Noahide Laws, as recommendations for a good society. Ancient Athens, the small Greek city-state, was the first society based on broad inclusion of the citizenry, excluding women and the slave class. Athens had no legal science, and Ancient Greek has no word for "law" as an abstract concept.[62] Yet Ancient Greek law contained major constitutional innovations in the development of democracy.[63]
Roman law was heavily influenced by Greek teachings.[64] It forms the bridge to the modern legal world, over the centuries between the rise and decline of the Roman Empire.[65] Roman law underwent major codification in the Corpus Juris Civilis of Emperor Justinian I. It was lost through the Dark Ages, but rediscovered around the 11th century. Mediæval legal scholars began researching the Roman codes and using their concepts. In mediæval England, the King's powerful judges began to develop a body of precedent, which became the common law. But also, a Europe-wide Lex Mercatoria was formed, so that merchants could trade using familiar standards, rather than the many splintered types of local law. The Lex Mercatoria, a precursor to modern commercial law, emphasised the freedom of contract and alienability of property.[66] As nationalism grew in the 18th and 19th centuries, Lex Mercatoria was incorporated into countries' local law under new civil codes. The French Napoleonic Code and the German became the most influential. As opposed to English common law, which consists of enormous tomes of case law, codes in small books are easy to export and for judges to apply. However, today there are signs that civil and common law are converging. European Union law is codified in treaties, but develops through the precedent laid down by the European Court of Justice.

The Constitution of India is the longest written constitution for a country, containing 444 articles, 12 schedules, numerous amendments and 117,369 words.
Ancient India and China represent distinct traditions of law, and had historically independent schools of legal theory and practice. The Arthashastra, dating from 400 BC, and the Manusmriti, from 100 AD, were influential treatises in India, texts that were considered authoritative legal guidance.[67] Manu's central philosophy was tolerance and pluralism, and was cited across Southeast Asia.[68] But this Hindu tradition, along with Islamic law, was supplanted by the common law when India became part of the British Empire.[69] Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong also adopted the common law. The eastern Asia legal tradition reflects a unique blend of secular and religious influences.[70] Japan was the first country to begin modernising its legal system along western lines, by importing bits of the French, but mostly the German Civil Code.[71] This partly reflected Germany's status as a rising power in the late 19th century. Similarly, traditional Chinese law gave way to westernisation towards the final years of the Ch'ing dynasty in the form of six private law codes based mainly on the Japanese model of German law.[72] Today Taiwanese law retains the closest affinity to the codifications from that period, because of the split between Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists, who fled there, and Mao Zedong's communists who won control of the mainland in 1949. The current legal infrastructure in the People's Republic of China was heavily influenced by Soviet Socialist law, which essentially inflates administrative law at the expense of private law rights.[73] Today, however, because of rapid industrialisation China has been reforming, at least in terms of economic (if not social and political) rights. A new contract code in 1999 represented a turn away from administrative domination.[74] Furthermore, after negotiations lasting fifteen years, in 2001 China joined the World Trade Organisation.[75]

Law[1] is a system of rules usually enforced through a set of institutions.[2] Law affects everyday life and society in a variety of ways. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading swaptions on a derivatives market. Property law defines rights and obligations related to buying, selling, or renting real property such as homes and buildings. Trust law applies to assets held for investment, such as pension funds. Tort law allows claims for compensation when someone or their property is harmed. But if the harm is criminalised, and the act is intentional, criminal law offers means to prosecute and punish the perpetrator. Constitutional law provides a framework for creating laws, protecting people's human rights, and electing political representatives, while administrative law allows ordinary citizens to challenge the way governments exercise power. International law regulates affairs between sovereign nation-states in everything from trade to the environment to military action. "The rule of law", wrote the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle in 350 BC, "is better than the rule of any individual."[3]
Legal systems around the world elaborate legal rights and responsibilities in different ways. A basic distinction is made between civil law jurisdictions and systems using common law. Some countries base their law on religious scripts. Scholars investigate the nature of law through many perspectives, including legal history and philosophy, or social sciences such as economics and sociology. The study of law raises important questions about equality, fairness and justice, which are not always simple. "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."[4] The most important institutions for law are the judiciary, the legislature, the executive, its bureaucracy, the military and police, the legal profession and civil society.

In a global economy, law is globalising too. International law can refer to three things: public international law, private international law or conflict of laws and the law of supranational organisations.
Public international law concerns relationships between sovereign nations. It has a special status as law because there is no international police force, and courts lack the capacity to penalise disobedience.[7] The sources for public international law to develop are custom, practice and treaties between sovereign nations. The United Nations, founded under the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the most important international organisation, established after the Treaty of Versailles's failure and World War II. Other international agreements, like the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war, and international bodies such as the International Court of Justice, International Labour Organisation, the World Trade Organisation, or the International Monetary Fund, also form a growing part of public international law.
Conflict of laws (or "private international law" in civil law countries) concerns which jurisdiction a legal dispute between private parties should be heard in and which jurisdiction's law should be applied. Today, businesses are increasingly capable of shifting capital and labour supply chains across borders, as well as trading with overseas businesses. This increases the number of disputes outside a unified legal framework and the enforceability of standard practices. Increasing numbers of businesses opt for commercial arbitration under the New York Convention 1958.
European Union law is the first and only example of a supranational legal framework. However, given increasing global economic integration, many regional agreements—especially the Union of South American Nations—are on track to follow the same model. In the EU, sovereign nations have pooled their authority through a system of courts and political institutions. They have the ability to enforce legal norms against and for member states and citizens, in a way that public international law does not.[8] As the European Court of Justice said in 1962, European Union law constitutes "a new legal order of international law" for the mutual social and economic benefit of the member states.[9]

The history of law documents date back centuries and some of the earliest documentions were before Christ. But many started documenting more frequently around the seventeenth century. Let's take a look at some of History of Law Documents and what some of them consisted of.
In the time Before Christ (B.C.) there were plenty of law documents made. Many were from the time when Caesar Augustus was the emperor. Some of these included the Law Of Caesar On Municipalities in 44B.C. and another which was written in 64B.C. This document was concerning three citizens that were sent to Caesar Augustus for a hearing in Cyrene, Libya, Africa. This cherished law document was found in 1926.
Other Roman law documents include the Agrarian Law 111 B.C. This document includes statements concering the use of public land in early Roman Republic times. In 122 B.C. another law document was written, again from early Roman times and was about the right to recover property that was extorted. The Law Of The Kings from 735 - 510B.C. document writes the laws of Rome's seven kings.
Some history of Law Documents prior to the eighteenth century included the law of Richard I in 1189. This law was about crusaders who to go to sea. Other law documents include, the Statute of Edward I in 1290, which was about buying and selling of land and the Statute of Laborers in 1351. The treaty between Spain and Portugal in 1479 is another legal document along with the Fundamental Constitution of Carolina in 1669, the Fundamental Constitution of New Jersey in 1683 and the English Bill Of Rights in 1689..
When it comes to the history of law documents whether it is just prior to the eighteenth century or centuries there after, there are thousands of them covering everything that sits under the protection of laws. These documents are just as important today as they were when they were first written.
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