Introduction

Iustitia ("Lady Justice") is a symbolic personification of the coercive power of a tribunal: a sword representing state authority, scales representing an objective standard, and a blindfold indicating that justice should be impartial.

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

A general distinction can be made between (a) civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, and (b) common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law. Historically, religious laws played a significant role even in settling of secular matters, and is still used in some religious communities. Islamic Sharia law is the world's most widely used religious law, and is used as the primary legal system in some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Selected article

A photograph of a prison cell

Article 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, specifically Article 9(1), guarantees the right to life and the right to personal liberty. The Court of Appeal has called the right to life the most basic of human rights, but has yet to fully define the term in the Constitution. Contrary to the broad position taken in jurisdictions such as Malaysia and the United States, the High Court of Singapore has said that personal liberty only refers to freedom from unlawful incarceration or detention.

Article 9(1) states that persons may be deprived of life or personal liberty "in accordance with law". In Ong Ah Chuan v. Public Prosecutor (1980), an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council from Singapore, it was held that the term law means more than just legislation validly enacted by Parliament, and includes fundamental rules of natural justice. Subsequently, in Yong Vui Kong v. Attorney-General (2011), the Court of Appeal held that such fundamental rules of natural justice embodied in the Constitution are the same in nature and function as common law rules of natural justice in administrative law, except that they operate at different levels of the legal order. (more...)

Selected biography

A photograph of Moxon

Kendrick Lichty Moxon is a Scientology official and an attorney with the law firm Moxon & Kobrin. He practices in Los Angeles, California, and is a lead counsel for the Church of Scientology. Moxon's early work for the Church of Scientology involved legal affairs, and he also held the title of "reverend". He worked out of the Scientology intelligence agency known as the Guardian's Office (GO), and was named as an unindicted co-conspirator after the Federal Bureau of Investigation's investigation into criminal activities by Scientology operatives called "Operation Snow White".

The bulk of Moxon's legal work is Scientology-related. He has served as Commissioner of the Scientology-affiliated organization Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). He represented the Church of Scientology in 1988 in a billion-dollar class action lawsuit against the organization by former Scientologists which was dismissed in Los Angeles Superior Court. In 1990 Moxon represented the organization in a suit against the Internal Revenue Service in an attempt to gain access to information about Scientology held by the IRS. He assisted 50 Scientologists in filing separate lawsuits against the organization Cult Awareness Network (CAN), which led to the bankruptcy of the organization. He represented the plaintiff in the Jason Scott case against CAN and cult deprogrammer Rick Ross. (more...)

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Selected case

The slightly battered black and white photograph depicts Wong Kim Ark facing directly towards the camera. He has a round face, short receding hair and is wearing a jacket with a standing collar and rounded edges

United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that virtually everyone born in the United States is a U.S. citizen. This decision established an important precedent in its interpretation of the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Wong Kim Ark, who was born in the United States to Chinese parents around 1871, had been denied re-entry to the U.S. after a trip abroad, under a law restricting Chinese immigration and prohibiting immigrants from China from becoming naturalized U.S. citizens. He challenged the government's refusal to recognize his citizenship, and the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, holding that the citizenship language in the Fourteenth Amendment encompassed essentially everyone born in the U.S.—even the U.S.-born children of foreigners—and could not be limited in its effect by an act of Congress. (more...)

Selected statute

A filer warning of, among other things, "mental hygiene"

The Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act of 1956 was an Act of Congress passed to improve mental health care in the United States territory of Alaska. Introduced in the House of Representatives by Alaska Congressional Delegate Bob Bartlett in January 1956, it became the focus of a major political controversy. The legislation was opposed by a variety of far-right, anti-Communist and fringe religious groups, prompting what was said to have been the biggest political controversy seen on Capitol Hill since the early 1940s. Prominent opponents nicknamed it the "Siberia Bill" and asserted that it was part of an international Jewish, Roman Catholic or psychiatric conspiracy intended to establish United Nations-run concentration camps in the United States. With the sponsorship of the conservative Republican senator Barry Goldwater, a modified version of the Act was approved unanimously by the United States Senate in July 1956 after only ten minutes of debate. (more...)

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