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  • The small Greek city-state, ancient Athens, from about the 8th century BC was the first society to be based on broad inclusion of its citizenry, excluding women and enslaved people.
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The UK, Finland and New Zealand assert the ideal of parliamentary sovereignty, whereby the unelected judiciary may not overturn law passed by a democratic legislature. Examples include the Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia—both of which translate as the “path to follow”—while Christian canon law also survives in some church communities. Often the implication of religion for law is unalterability, because the word of God cannot be amended or legislated against by judges or governments. However, a thorough and detailed legal system generally requires human elaboration. For instance, the Quran has some law, and it acts as a source of further law through interpretation, Qiyas , Ijma and precedent. This is mainly contained in a body of law and jurisprudence known as Sharia and Fiqh respectively.

To pass legislation, a majority of the members of a legislature must vote for a bill in each house. Normally there will be several readings and amendments proposed by the different political factions. If a country has an entrenched constitution, a special majority for changes to the constitution may be required, making changes to the law more difficult. A government usually leads the process, which can be formed from Members of Parliament (e.g. the UK or Germany).

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Canon Law (from Greek kanon, a ‘straight measuring rod, ruler’) is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority , for the government of a Christian organisation or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion. The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law. Definitions of law often raise the question of the extent to which law incorporates morality.

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