Legals Prelim - Basic Legal Concepts, Australian Law

Topics: Law, Common law, Judge Pages: 10 (2478 words) Published: October 8, 2012
Chapter 1: Basic legal concepts

The meaning of law
Law is a set of rules imposed on all members of a community who are officially reorganised, binding and enforceable by persons or organisations such as the police and/or courts It is a complex mechanism which evolving from hundreds of years of tradition, culture and values (principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable within a society) In general terms, law can be defined as the set of rules (regulations or principles governing procedure or controlling conduct). They are set as the guidelines for the relationship between people and organisations in a society

Customs, rules and law
Customs are collective habits or traditions that have developed in a society over a long period of time. It may vary depending on culture, religion and history of a group of people, society or country. Not all customs are law. Customary law are principles and procedures that have developed according to the customs of a people or nation, or groups of nations and are treated as obligatory Three influential areas are:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customary law
English customary law
International customary law

Rules are generally made by group and only affect people within those groups. Rules are often vary between groups and are not enforceable by the state

Laws have certain characteristics that make them different from rules: •Laws are binding on the whole community. This means that they apply to all members of society •Laws can be enforced. This means that penalties apply if a law is broken •Laws are officially recognised. This means that government and courts recognise laws and enforce them •Laws are accessible or discoverable. This means that people can find out which law applies to a particular situation •Laws relate to public interest. This means that laws exist for things that concern the whole laws exist for things that concern the whole of society, and that interest is considered to outweigh the costs or drawbacks of the government’s involvement in enforcing them. •Laws reflect rights and duties. This means that everyone in society has responsibilities to others, such as the duty to drive safely, and that everyone has the right to be treated in the same way by others

Laws are decided by elected government official at local, state or federal government levels. Judges also make laws in certain cases when they set a precedent

Differences between laws and rules
To be obeyed by all citizens of a societyTo be obeyed by specific individuals or groups Made by a law-making bodyMade by individuals or groups
Enforced through the courtsEnforced by leaders of a group
Consequences of a breach results in a prescribed sanction imposed by the courtConsequences of a breach in the discretion of the leader of a group The relationship between customs, rules and laws

Whenever people have lived together in a groups, they have developed rules to govern their behaviour and thus maintain the smooth running activities •These rules were based on the traditions, customs and values of the group •These rules have penalties attached if members of the group fail to follow them •Groups usually put someone, or a small group, in charge to enforce these rules and the associated penalties. In modern times, this became the government •Over time, these rules became formalised laws, known in society as “the law”

Values and ethics
Each of us in a society all live up to a values and ethics. Living according to our ethics means that we do things that we consider to be morally right Lawmakers try to incorporate these values and ethics into laws but people have different perspectives therefore law will only cover those ethical values that are common to all

Characteristics of just laws
The concept of just law which also known as justice (the legal principle of upholding generally and enforcing...
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