Law: A Very Short Introduction

Overview

Law underlies our society -it protects our rights, imposes duties on each of us, and establishes a framework for the conduct of almost every social, political, and economic activity. The punishment of crime, compensation of the injured, and the enforcement of contracts are merely some of the tasks of a modern legal system. It also strives to ensure justice, promote freedom, and protect our security. The result is a system that, while it touches all of our daily lives, is properly understood by only a few, with ...

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Law: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview

Law underlies our society -it protects our rights, imposes duties on each of us, and establishes a framework for the conduct of almost every social, political, and economic activity. The punishment of crime, compensation of the injured, and the enforcement of contracts are merely some of the tasks of a modern legal system. It also strives to ensure justice, promote freedom, and protect our security. The result is a system that, while it touches all of our daily lives, is properly understood by only a few, with its impenetrable jargon, obsolete procedures, and interminable stream of Byzantine statutes and judgments of the courts. This clear, jargon-free Very Short Introduction cuts introduces the essentials of law and legal systems in a lively, accessible, and stimulating manner. Explaining the main concepts, terms, and processes of the legal system, it focuses on the Western tradition, but also examines other legal systems, such as customary law and Islamic law. And it looks to the future too, as globalization and rapid advances in technology place increasing strain on our current legal system.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199214969
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/11/2008
  • Series: Very Short Introductions Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 408,025
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 4.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Raymond Wacks is Emeritus Professor of Law and Legal Theory at the University of Hong Kong. His books include Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory (OUP, 2005); and Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction (OUP 2006). He has appeared on BBC television, and CNN and BBC radio, and has written for publications such as The Times (London), the New Statesman, and The Spectator.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An informative and readable introduction to the law

    Upon learning that I have read this book, a friend of mine (who happened to be a law student) remarked that "there is no such thing as a very short introduction to law." She was referring of course to the voluminous cases and laws that all law students are supposed to study and even memorize in many instances. This is a daunting process that requires many hours and hard work, and on a surface it would seem inconceivable that it could be condensed into a very short book that does justice to it. In the light of that, it is quite remarkable that something like this has been accomplished in the form of this book. The important thing to keep in mind is that the subject of this book is law in general, and not any particular instances of it that are dealt with here. Raymond Wacks does a remarkable job narrating the story of law: its origins, history, different legal systems that exist in the world, and the future of law. The two major legal traditions in the world - the common and civil law - are described and explained at some detail. Even so, there are many jurisdictions around the world that mix elements from both traditions, and within each tradition there are many subcategories and peculiar practices. Thus, US legal system in particular, although it belongs to the common law tradition, has many characteristics that are at odds with the rest of the common law universe. The visually most conspicuous one is the lack of any special attire that is required of lawyers at trials. Even the very profession of a lawyer is somewhat particular to the US, and does not quite exist in other jurisdictions.

    Overall, this is a very readable and informative book that does not require much preexisting knowledge of the law, and it does not overwhelm the reader with the legal language. It is an excellent introduction to a very important aspect of the way that the world operates.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    RAYMOND WACKS IT TO YOU: LAW THAT IS!

    'LAW' AND 'BREVITY' - OR HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH A VERY SHORT INTRO TO LAW WITHOUT APPEARING TO BE A CHARLATAN! Yes, as short introductions go, Professor Wacks has produced a fine piece of work here which much resembles the structure of his lectures- it contains a wealth of detail, historic and modern, and carefully distilled into 160 contemporary pages of legal insight. There is also a clear depth of learning exhibited throughout which makes this and the other new OUP titles stand out as most useful 21st century works for the internet-age student. Wacks succeeds, because 'law' and 'brevity' do occur in the same sentence (and book) here! Phillip Taylor MBE, Abbey & Richmond Chambers

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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