Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...
, a summary judgment is a determination made by a court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...
without a full trial
In law, a trial is when parties to a dispute come together to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court...
. Such a judgment may be issued as to the merits of an entire case, or of specific issues in that case.
In common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...
systems, the interpretation of that law, that is to say, any question as to what the law actually is in a particular case, are decided by the judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...
; in rare cases jury nullification
Jury nullification occurs in a trial when a jury reaches a verdict contrary to the judge's instructions as to the law.A jury verdict contrary to the letter of the law pertains only to the particular case before it; however, if a pattern of acquittals develops in response to repeated attempts to...
of the law may act to contravene or complement the instructions or orders of the judge, or other officers of the court.