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System of norms and rules that regulate the activity and conduct of the citizens and institutions of a state. Juridical order. Also understood as the science of laws. L. is a product of civilization. It came into being with writing. At the dawn of civilization, l. was made sacred and presented before public opinion as divine revelation, the work of a cultural hero or wise king thought to be enlightened by a corresponding deity. In ancient Greece and Rome l. was conceived as an expression of the collective will of the citizens, who promulgated laws in the assembly of citizens of the republic or through the legislative body elected by them (the Senate, for example). In the Middle Ages, legislative functions were granted to deliberative bodies formed on a corporative principle by the prince, king, or emperor, who carried out the common will of the estates in the form of laws. In modern times the principle of separation of powers is observed, and legislative power is so constituted (in democratic systems this power is elective and exercised through representatives). Currently, in addition to national l. there is an emergence of international standards established by the UN and regional standards approved by regional bodies, which are approved by national representative bodies or plebiscites carried out at the national level in states that make up the regional organization.