An official is a person who has been granted the authority of a certain position. This could be a minister, speaker, magistrate, or judge. Legal officials are responsible for assessing crime in a given jurisdiction and creating annual reports on the number of crimes reported to the police and the number of people prosecuted. The challenge with this approach is that legal definitions of even serious crimes can vary from one society to another.
Judicial officials with the power to decide lawsuits brought before the courts are referred to as judges. A legal action initiated by a plaintiff against a defendant is based on a complaint that the defendant failed to comply with a legal obligation, resulting in harm to the plaintiff. Legal officials may also select, draft, or complete legal documents or agreements that affect an individual's legal rights. The distinction between soft and hard legal positivism is whether legal officials can legislate by directly applying their own moral views or by referring to the moral views of others. Soft positivism allows for moral criteria in recognition rules, while hard positivism only allows non-moral criteria. The legal system used in the United States is based on the articulation of legal principles in a historic succession of court decisions.
This system originated in England and has been adopted by many other countries.