What Is Law?

Law is a system of rules created and enforced by a government or other authority meant to ensure that people act in a socially acceptable manner. Laws are usually written down and enforceable through the use of sanctions, such as fines or imprisonment. Laws can also be created and enforced by social institutions such as religious organizations. The precise definition of law is a subject of longstanding debate. Some philosophers, such as John Austin, argue that laws are “commands backed by the threat of sanction from a sovereign to subjects who have a habit of obeying them.” Others, like Jeremy Bentham, view law as a system of rules created and enforced through a complex process of consultation and negotiation between society’s members.

Most countries employ a combination of both systems, with statutes, regulations and court decisions all playing important roles. Statutes, or legislative laws, are passed by a country’s legislature (legislators), while regulations are generally enacted by a federal or state regulatory body. Then there are court decisions, which are a ruling made by a judge in a particular case that has broader legal weight to apply to other cases in the future. This is known as the principle of precedent or stare decisis.

A law is a set of rules decided by a particular place or authority meant to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, preserve individual rights, protect minorities against majorities, and promote social change. Some laws may serve one or more of these purposes better than others. For example, a nation ruled by an authoritarian regime may keep the peace but oppress its citizens.

Many laws are based on societal viewpoints, such as justice, morality, order and honesty, with the specific details being adjusted and justified over time. Other laws are based on a country’s culture and traditions, or the specific beliefs of its religion, such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism.

There are many different kinds of law, such as employment law, which concerns the relationship between employer, employee and trade union; copyright and intellectual property law, which protects creative works like art or music; tort law, which covers compensation for injuries and damages; administrative law, which deals with things such as taxation and licensing; and evidence law, which relates to which materials are admissible in courts for a case to be built. Law can also be used as a career, with attorneys, jurists or lawyers being professionals who study and practice the law. In addition, a lawyer can specialize in a particular area of law such as criminal law or family law.

Theme: Overlay by Kaira Extra Text
Cape Town, South Africa