• It begun when the first man and women was on Earth. The 10 commandments of course :) and the list doesnt stop there, there are many more in the bible.
  • Nobody really knows, but it is likely to have arisen at the same time we changed from being hunter-gatherers to being farmers. It certainly predates the Bible by many millennia.
  • There are many ancient societies that provided the ground work for the legal systems we know today. Among the more substantial contributers are the following (according the Wikipedia): Urukagina of Lagash (ca. 2400 BC) was known to have provided the first example of a judicial code, in order to fight corruption. Hammurabi of Babylon (ca. 1800 BC) created the 'Code of Hammurabi' which, among other things, "is often pointed to as the first example of the legal concept that some laws are so basic as to be beyond the ability of even a king to change." Ancient Babylonian Law also encompassed such areas as property law, family law, debt and trade law. The Hittites of ancient Anatolia (modern day turkey, ca. 1600-1100 BC) had intricate case laws. Wikipedia offers an interesting example: "If anyone tears off the ear of a male or female slave, he shall pay 3 shekels of silver." Ancient Greece also had advanced commercial and contract law. Other areas of interest include ancient India, ancient china, Athenian law, and ancient Roman law.
  • In the USA our common law pretty much came from England, except for Louisiana; they adopted French Napoleonic law. Much law has now been codified as American law but in the absence of codified state or federal law, we still fall back on the common law.
  • The legal system in America came from Anglo-Saxon (not English) common law, and the US constitution acknowledges that base. The system in Mexico is the Napoleonic Code, which is quite different. Other than those two, laws were simply the pronouncements of whatever king was in power.
    • Jewels Vern
      You asked about time. Common law goes way back, but mostly in western Europe and the British Isles. The Napoleonic Code of course dates from Napoleon.
  • What was important was the "rule of law"

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