Legal Update

University of Illinois College of Law

They learn from scholars of national and international stature in the classroom, and are trained by brilliant and dedicated lawyers in the finest set of clinical programs in the country. Come see why we are ranked #1 for return on investment among the top 15 law schools. Around 1900 Max Weber defined his “scientific” approach to law, identifying the “legal rational form” as a type of domination, not attributable to personal authority but to the authority of abstract norms. Formal legal rationality was his term for the key characteristic of the kind of coherent and calculable law that was a precondition for modern political developments and the modern bureaucratic state. Weber saw this law as having developed in parallel with the growth of capitalism.

  • The discipline arose partly out of a critique of trade unions and U.S. antitrust law.
  • Max Weber famously argued that the state is that which controls the monopoly on the legitimate use of force.
  • Ministers or other officials head a country’s public offices, such as a foreign ministry or defence ministry.
  • As one legal historian wrote, “Justinian consciously looked back to the golden age of Roman law and aimed to restore it to the peak it had reached three centuries before.” The Justinian Code remained in force in the East until the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

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. Due to rapid industrialisation, today China is undergoing a process of reform, at least in terms of economic, if not social and political, rights. A new contract code in 1999 represented a move away from administrative domination. Furthermore, after negotiations lasting fifteen years, in 2001 China joined the World Trade Organization.

Another example of tort might be a neighbour making excessively loud noises with machinery on his property. Torts can also involve intentional acts such as assault, battery or trespass. A better known tort is defamation, which occurs, for example, when a newspaper makes unsupportable allegations that damage a politician’s reputation. More infamous are economic torts, which form the basis of labour law in some countries by making trade unions liable for strikes, when statute does not provide immunity.

The UK Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the US Uniform Commercial Code are examples of codified common law commercial principles. Cynicism over “officialdom” is still common, and the workings of public servants is typically contrasted to private enterprise motivated by profit. In fact private companies, especially large ones, also have bureaucracies.

Connection to morality and justice

These institutions are allowed the ability to enforce legal norms both against or for member states and citizens in a manner which is not possible through public international law. As the European Court of Justice noted in its 1963 Van Gend en Loos decision, European Union law constitutes “a new legal order of international law” for the mutual social and economic benefit of the member states. One definition is that law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behaviour. University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School students consistently pursue careers at top law firms, leading public interest organizations, government bodies, and academic institutions across the country and around the world. The strength of our programs coupled with our extensive alumni network ensure that graduates can enter the market working in the fields they love, writing the future of law both nationally and internationally.

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Hegel believed that civil society and the state were polar opposites, within the scheme of his dialectic theory of history. The modern dipole state–civil society was reproduced in the theories of Alexis de Tocqueville and Karl Marx. In post-modern theory, civil society is necessarily a source of law, by being the basis from which people form opinions and lobby for what they believe law should be. Until the 18th century, Sharia law was practiced throughout the Muslim world in a non-codified form, with the Ottoman Empire’s Mecelle code in the 19th century being a first attempt at codifying elements of Sharia law. Since the mid-1940s, efforts have been made, in country after country, to bring Sharia law more into line with modern conditions and conceptions. In modern times, the legal systems of many Muslim countries draw upon both civil and common law traditions as well as Islamic law and custom.

Shipping companies operate through ordinary principles of commercial law, generalised for a global market. Admiralty law also encompasses specialised issues such as salvage, maritime liens, and injuries to passengers. Family law covers marriage and divorce proceedings, the rights of children and rights to property and money in the event of separation. Immigration law and nationality law concern the rights of foreigners to live and work in a nation-state that is not their own and to acquire or lose citizenship.

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When contracts are invalidated for some reason (e.g. a car buyer is so drunk that he lacks legal capacity to contract) the contractual obligation to pay can be invalidated separately from the proprietary title of the car. Unjust enrichment law, rather than contract law, is then used to restore title to the rightful owner. The main institutions of law in industrialised countries are independent courts, representative parliaments, an accountable executive, the military and police, bureaucratic organisation, the legal profession and civil society itself.