Law is the systematic process or legal product of legally enacting, registering, or prescribing legislation by a legislature, state, national, or comparable governing authority. The processes of law are categorized into two areas: judicial and legislative. Legislation is an act of the legislature, while judicial law deals with cases under common law. While laws are general in nature, courts generally consider a case on its individual merits, applying the same legal logic as it would in civil and criminal cases.
A special feature of legislation is that it can have both statutory and practical elements. Statutory laws are those which have a permanent legal force, while legal acts are those which are enacted for particular purposes (e.g., statutes concerning taxation) and have a specified time limit within which they must be complied with. Statutory laws are also divided into two categories: regulatory and proclamations. Regulations are required to be specified in specific acts, and are thereby executed by state agencies and bodies such as the attorney general, department of revenue, and state boards and commissions. Proclamations, on the other hand, are not enacted, but rather signed by public officials (e.g., executive order, rule, regulation, or constitutional provision).
All jurisdictions that implement the United Nations instruments including the Vienna Convention on the State of International Trade and the World Intellectual Property Organization’s International copyright treaty enable States to enact and implement legislation and regulatory instruments that are not directly related to commerce, acquisitions, transfers, or productions, but which nonetheless affect the operation of the economy. Some important jurisdictions that embody these instruments include: Canada, Mexico, the European Union, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the Philippines, the United States, and the European Union. Each of these bodies has established mechanisms for ensuring that legislation enacted is not inconsistent with other international instruments or damaging to economic interests protected by the drafters’ notes.
A new development in the world of legislation and regulatory instruments is that of the transposition of laws in different States. Some jurisdictions have a common law system, which grants power to the same judges or tribunals to hear and determine cases under the laws of the States, subject to the prescribed restrictions. Other jurisdictions translate laws into universal principles or express limitations, such as those that are reflected in human rights and its derivative protection under the international conventions. The transposition of laws on the creation and movement of property is sometimes referred to as “re-examination.”
One important area of concern is that, although legislative instruments made since 1 January are presumed to be general, some may have a number of exclusions. In a common law system, an exclusive ruling authority is established, and its powers are enforced by the courts. Although this system is not clearly identified as an objective of the legislature, there are arguments that the courts may exercise a limitation that is not inherent in other parts of the system. For instance, under common law, there is no general authority to regulate interstate commerce. The legislature cannot adopt rules that would subject the States to direct rule-making by the Federal court. Similarly, there is no implied limitation on Congress’ power to regulate private contract disputes between private parties.
Another area of significant concern is that although the United States has an ordinary admiralty law with civil jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, the fact that it is a separate government and is acting through the powers of Congress does not immunize the District of Columbia from the operation of many of the legislators of the United States. The District of Columbia may waive its rights to recover money under the stipulations of a short title in the statutory rules, but Congress has no power to vest such a power in the courts. In interpreting a statutory rule in relation to the power of Congress to control interstate commerce, therefore, a careful analysis of the words of the drafter is required to determine whether Congress intended to immunize the District of Columbia from suit under the common law or from the operation of many legislations imposing various regulations on the States’ interstate commerce.