By Brenda Mothersole, Ann Ridley (auth.)
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Additional info for A-Level Law in Action
The criminal law seeks to control and discourage what may be termed 'anti-social' behaviour. It may be difficult to see any real similarity between the offences of, for example, murder which most people would agree cannot be sanctioned in any society, and parking on double yellow lines or some of the so-called 'victimless' crimes like taking prohibited drugs or insider dealing (which is committed when a person who has certain unpublished information about a company deals in the shares of that company with a view to making a profit or avoiding a loss).
A petition is addressed to the Privy Council asking for the grant of a charter and, if the Privy Council approve the request, the Crown is advised to grant the charter. This is clearly much too cumbersome now, with approximately 117 000 new companies being registered each year, but is still used in certain circumstances, for example the BBC is a charter corporation, as are many of the universities and some of the professional institutes like the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Companies may also be created by special statute: an Act of Parliament is passed creating the corporation and granting it certain powers.
This does not, however, address the broad philosophical question of how law as an abstract idea may be defined. How do we know the difference between rules of social behaviour and rules of law? It can be said of the law that it imposes obligations, but then social norms and the moral code of a society also do that. Other ways of distinguishing have been suggested: it is also said that the law has authority which is both granted by and recognised by society and the law can be identified by reference to its written source.
A-Level Law in Action by Brenda Mothersole, Ann Ridley (auth.)