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Law is a semi-stable system of rules and enforcement procedures through which a society regulates social behaviors and relationships such as promises, the use of force, taxation, and property. Contrasting the caprice of regulation by man to the orderliness law establishes, the Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, "The rule of law is better than the rule of any individual."

The study of law raises questions about equality, fairness and justice; "In its majestic equality," wrote the author Anatole France in 1894, "the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal a loaf of bread." Every legal system elaborates legal rights and responsibilities in different ways.

Most countries have a codified system of civil law which is regularly updated by the legislature. Some, primarily former British colonies, use common law, which develops through the decisions of courts in individual cases. Finally, small numbers of countries base their law on religious texts. But in all places there is a rich history to law, with deep philosophical ideas underpinning it. Law raises pressing economic issues, just as intense political battles are fought to mould law throughout its institutions. Professionals are usually trained to give people advice about their legal rights and duties and to represent them in court.

This portal page aims to assist in the exploration of Law and of Wikipedia's articles on it.

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The Preamble of the Constitution of India — India's fundamental and supreme law

The Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties are sections of the Constitution of India that prescribe the fundamental obligations of the State° to its citizens and the duties of the citizens to the State. These sections comprise a constitutional bill of rights and guidelines for government policy-making and the behaviour and conduct of citizens.

These sections are considered vital elements of the constitution, which was developed between 1947 and 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of India.

The Fundamental Rights are defined as the basic human rights of all citizens. These rights, defined in Part III of the Constitution, apply irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed or gender. They are enforceable by the courts, subject to specific restrictions.

The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines for the framing of laws by the government. These provisions—set out in Part IV of the Constitution—are not enforceable by the courts, but the principles on which they are based are fundamental guidelines for governance that the State is expected to apply in framing and passing laws. (more...)

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Dietrich v. The Queen was an important case decided in the High Court of Australia on November 13, 1992. It concerned the nature of the right to a fair trial, and under what circumstances indigent defendants (defendants who cannot afford legal representation) should be provided with legal aid by the state. The case determined that although there is no absolute right to have publicly funded counsel, in most circumstances a judge should grant any request for an adjournment or stay when an accused is unrepresented. It is an important case in Australian criminal law, and also in Australian constitutional law, since it is one of a number of cases in which some members of the High Court have found implied human rights in the Australian Constitution. (more...)

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The trial of Francis Gary Powers in Moscow in August, 1960. Powers, the pilot of an American spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union, pleaded guilty and was convicted of espionage on August 19. He was sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment and 7 years of hard labor, but was exchanged for Soviet agent Rudolf Abel on the Glienicke Bridge in Potsdam, Germany on February 10, 1962.
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Australia Act 1986 (United Kingdom) document, located in Parliament House, Canberra

The Australia Act 1986 is an act of the Parliament of Australia (No. 142 of 1985) and the Parliament of the United Kingdom (c.2 1986) which eliminated the remaining ties between the legislature and judiciary of Australia and their counterparts in the United Kingdom. In particular, the act resolved the anomalous power of the United Kingdom's parliament to legislate over the individual Australian states, a power that it had exercised since colonial times and which had not been affected by the 1931 Statute of Westminster. (more...)

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Alfred Thompson Denning, Baron Denning, OM, PC (23 January 1899 – 5 March 1999) was an English jurist, judge and barrister from Hampshire, who became a Law Lord and Master of the Rolls (the senior civil judge in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales). Lord Denning was a judge for 38 years before retiring at the age of 83 in 1982. Over the course of his long career, he became renowned for the wit and commanding prose of his judgements as well as for the intellectual persuasiveness of his legal reasoning. A passionate reformer from the outset of his career, Lord Denning fathered many important concepts which would become pillars of the common law (such as promissory estoppel) and many more which would ultimately be rejected in the House of Lords (such as the doctrine of fundamental breach). (more...)

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Did You Know

...that in a few villages and towns of southern France and Spain it is illegal to die, and that there are attempts to have the same law in a town in Brazil?

...that the United States Customs Service may search all travelers' possessions, including in some cases, personal files on their laptops, without a warrant or even suspicion under the border search exception?

...that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1963 that a criminal defendant has a constitutional right to "effective" legal counsel, but "effective" was not defined until Strickland v. Washington in 1984?

...that Prior restraint was ruled to be unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Near v. Minnesota, except in extremely limited circumstances?

...that the Hudood Ordinance, intended to implement Shari'a law in Pakistan, was abolished in 2006?

...that Daniel J. Bernstein was represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in Bernstein v. United States in challenging US laws concerning the export of cryptography?

...that the law concerning abortion in Israel allows for abortions only after approval by a committee of two physicians and a social worker?



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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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This page is currently undergoing major edits.

Content that is added is likely to be moved/deleted/edited significantly in a short amount of time. All Wikiversitians with knowledge in this subject are welcome to help.


The Law Portal

Welcome to the Law Portal! This page is a guide to Wikiversity learning resources that are about Law in general. Please help create and organize learning resources at the content development projects.


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Wikiversity is new and depends on volunteer editors. In the Law department we have content development projects for: Common Law Jurisdictions,Australian Law,Canadian Law,Indian Law,Law of the United Kingdom,Ukrainian Law,Patent Law,US Law,Civil Law Jurisdictions,European Community Law,French Law,German Law,Japanese Law,Canadian Law,Scottish Law,Ukrainian Law,Religious Law,Bhuddisht Law,Canon Law,Islamic Law,Usul al Fiqh , Jewish Law,International Law,Maritime Law,Military Law,American Military Law,Criminal Law,US Criminal Law







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Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

This portal brings together various pages and wikiprojects relating to law in all countries.

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Existing Wikiprojects

  • Wikisource:WikiProject UK Law
  • Wikisource:WikiProject US Code
  • Wikisource:WikiProject U.S. Supreme Court cases
  • Wikisource:WikiProject United States Executive Orders
  • Wikisource:WikiProject Acts of Congress


The Category:Law is a broad one that includes everything about law. Any article in any of its many sub-categories is implicitly included in this top category. Similarly, articles in lower level sub-categories are implicitly included in their parent categories, and do not need to be separately listed there. That said, no-one should ever be faulted for initially listing an article in a higher category than necessary; a person more familiar with the categories can always fix this later.

There are two major ways to divide the top category: geographically and by topic. The geographic division should take precedence when the work being categorized is all or disproportionately about that territory.


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