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PLSC 210: Introduction to Legal Studies

3 Types of Law

Most people think of "the law" as laws that are passed by the legislature, but in reality the law is a complex interplay of three types of law. These types of law typically follow the structure of the jurisdiction's government. Therefore, in the United States the types of law are:
  • Statutory Law: laws passed by a legislative body, such as the United States Congress or the South Carolina General Assembly.
  • Administrative Law: decisions, rules, and regulations made by administrative agencies which specify how they will carry out legislation.  A good example is the United States Postal Service or the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Case Law: court decisions, usually opinions written by appellate courts, which are binding law on the lower courts in the jurisdiction.
    ~Georgia State University Law Library

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