John Austin’s utilitarian answer was that law is “commands, backed by threat of sanctions, from a sovereign, to whom people have a habit of obedience”. Natural lawyers on the other side, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, argue that law reflects essentially moral and unchangeable laws of nature. The concept of “natural law” emerged in ancient Greek philosophy concurrently and in connection with the notion of justice, and re-entered the mainstream of Western culture through the writings of Thomas Aquinas, notably his Treatise on Law. Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, philosophy, economic analysis and sociology.
The prevailing manner of enforcing international law is still essentially “self help”; that is the reaction by states to alleged breaches of international obligations by other states. However, a few bodies, such as the WTO, have effective systems of binding arbitration and dispute resolution backed up by trade sanctions. Most countries have systems of appeal courts, with an apex court as the ultimate judicial authority.
- In medieval England, royal courts developed a body of precedent which later became the common law.
- Most countries have systems of appeal courts, with an apex court as the ultimate judicial authority.
- This contains the basic code