Law is the result of political action. While it is possible for military power to command political power, it is extremely difficult. Revolts against political-legal authority are a common feature in political history. While the political landscape of every country is different, the basic principles are often the same: laws are a result of political action.
Whether an act is legal or not is a matter of opinion, but just because it is legal does not make it right. Nor does it mean that it is sanctioned by society or government. Only a small fraction of people are willing to comply with laws, and even fewer will change their hearts and minds overnight. Moreover, just because a word is in the dictionary does not mean that it is a tree. Likewise, teaching the meaning of a word may blur its meaning and make it appear as a tree.
According to Weber, legitimacy is grounded in the ties that bind the social group. Hence, it is a social dimension, not the logical coordinates of the association. In Weber’s view, legitimacy is the force behind the law, and is a result of its cohesiveness and the interstices.
There are many different legal systems around the world. While most of these legal systems share some common features, some are very different. In particular, legal systems based on communist or socialist ideologies are very different than those based on traditional civil law. In socialist legal systems, most property is owned by the government or by agricultural cooperatives, and the judiciary is directly under the control of the Communist party.
Some countries have hybrid legal systems, combining parts of common law and civil law traditions. In the Philippines, Islamic law is implemented alongside the common law, and in Sri Lanka, a mixture of common, religious, and customary laws are the norm.
A legal institution is an organization or system of rules that governs the conduct of people and entities. It may be a government body or a quasi-judicial body, and it may have a wide or narrow jurisdiction. The United States, for example, has several different legal institutions that govern the behavior of businesses and individuals.
Legal institutions are created by the constitution of a state, which recognizes basic rights and obligations. Most constitutions establish judicial and legislative institutions to adjudicate legal disputes. The division of legal functions among these institutions is a principle known as the separation of powers. This system prevents a single institution from having too much legal power. In some countries, these institutions are referred to as branches of government.
Case law is the body of law that is based on past judicial decisions. It differs from the common law, which is derived from statutes and constitutions. It uses detailed facts of a case as well as court resolutions to interpret laws. The two types of law are sometimes used interchangeably. Both are important for determining legal issues.
Unlike statutes, which are written by legislatures, case law is developed through judicial decisions. Cases often establish precedent that guides future cases. Case law can be persuasive or binding, depending on the jurisdiction. In the United States, for example, a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is binding on all federal district courts in that circuit. However, a decision by a New York district court does not bind California courts.