Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people. Most criminal law is established by statute, which is to say that the laws are enacted by a legislature. It includes the punishment of people who violate these laws. Criminal law varies according to jurisdiction, and differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation than on punishment. Criminal procedure is formalized official activity that authenticates the fact of commission of a crime and authorizes punitive treatment of the offender. These are at best core definitions; they do not comprehend all legal systems, all stages in the development of a legal system, or all elements within a given legal system.
Criminology (from Latin crīmen, "accusation" originally derived from the Ancient Greek verb "krino" "κρίνω", and Ancient Greek -λογία, -logy|-logia, from "logos" meaning: “word,” “reason,” or “plan”) is the scientific study of the nature, extent, management, causes, control, consequences, and prevention of criminal behavior, both on the individual and social levels. Criminology is an interdisciplinary field in both the behavioral and social sciences, drawing especially upon the research of sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, biologists, social anthropologists, as well as scholars of law.
Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. 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.
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.
Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 386. Same in Vicar of Wakefield.
Inertis est nescire, quid liceat sibi.
Id facere, laus est, quod decet; non, quod licet.
It is the act of the indolent not to know what he may lawfully do. It is praiseworthy to do what is becoming, and not merely what is lawful.
We must not, by any whimsical conceits supposed to be adapted to the altering fashions of the times, overturn the established law of the land: it descended to us as a sacred charge, and it is our duty to preserve it.
Lord Kenyon, C.J., Clayton v. Adams (1796), 6 T. R. 605.