What is Law?

Law is a set of rules created and enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate and it has been variously described as a science and as the art of justice.

In a modern society, laws shape politics, economics, history and culture in many ways. They are a source of scholarly inquiry in legal history, philosophy, sociology and economic analysis, while they raise issues concerning equality and fairness.

The law covers all aspects of human activity, affecting both private and public affairs. Some examples are the criminal code, contracts and property laws. It provides a framework to ensure that a community is peaceful and stable, and it sets out how people can resolve disputes with each other. In addition, the law protects individual rights and imposes penalties when these rights are violated.

It also establishes a system of justice and the role of the courts in ensuring that citizens receive a fair hearing and a fair trial. The law also explains how public officials, such as police or civil servants, should behave and the rules that govern their work. The law also establishes the role of a supreme court and how it is to be appointed.

A country’s legal system can vary greatly, but some of the main goals of law include keeping the peace, maintaining the status quo, preserving individual rights and protecting minorities against majorities, promoting social justice and providing for orderly social change. Some legal systems achieve these goals better than others, although the law itself is not always inherently just or fair.

Laws can be created by a group legislature, resulting in statutes; by the executive, resulting in decrees and regulations; or through judicial decision making, as is the case in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can also create legally binding contracts.

Many areas of law exist, and many have significant overlap. For example, labour law includes the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer and trade union, while a dispute about a contract or defamation can be litigated in civil or criminal court. In addition, there are fields of law that deal with the use of space for commercial purposes, taxation laws and banking regulations. The law of evidence, for example, specifies which materials are admissible in court and how a trial should proceed. Moreover, there are numerous other specialisms within law, including the study of different religions’ jurisprudence, such as Jewish Halakha, Islamic Sharia and Christian canon law. These jurisprudences may differ from each other, but they all share the same underlying goal of protecting individuals and their possessions. This article was originally published on LawNewsWorldView.com and is reproduced here with permission. If you would like to contribute an article to this site, please get in touch with us. We’re always looking for new content to add. Contact details can be found here. LawNewsWorldView is the leading provider of global news, opinion and analysis for the legal profession.