What Is Law?


Law is a system of rules and principles that a government creates and enforces to regulate society, punish criminals and protect people’s liberties and rights. The rule of law refers to the idea that all members of a society are subject to the same laws, that these are easily understood and accessible, and that they can be enforced in an equitable and effective manner.

Law can be very broadly defined as the rules made by a government that citizens must follow and that there are punishments set up if they break these laws, for example murder is against the law in most places. It can also be more narrowly defined as the body of laws that govern a specific area or group, for example aviation law is the set of rules that governs pilots and aircraft. It can even be a broad definition that includes any rules that govern a person’s actions, for example parents’ house rules or instinctive behaviour that a person does might be described as being a law.

A fundamental aspect of law is that it is objective and impartial. It should be clear and publicized so that everyone can understand it, and it should also be stable, so that people can plan their affairs over a long period of time with confidence that they know what will happen to them if they do certain things, for example whether they will be charged with a crime or not. It should also ensure that it is fair and that core human, procedural and property rights are protected, including the right to a free press, to a public trial by an impartial jury of peers, and to due process.

Legal systems vary greatly across the world. Western law is the most common, but there are also many other types of legal systems, for example Chinese law and Indian law. In general, laws are made by a parliament or a legislative branch of the government and are then interpreted by courts.

Law has a variety of different functions, but four are particularly important: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberty and rights. Other functions include regulating industry, for example banking and financial regulations or environmental regulation, and providing public services, for instance water, electricity, gas and telecoms. The law also helps to protect the economy by limiting the amount of capital that companies can invest, and by ensuring that private firms do not take over vital public services. It also protects the environment by imposing penalties on those that pollute. Religious law is based on a code of conduct or scripture such as Jewish Halakha and Islamic Sharia, as well as Christian canon law. This is generally complemented by further human elaboration, using techniques such as interpretation, Qiyas (reasoning by analogy), and ijma (consensus). The law can also be used to protect people’s moral values from external pressures, such as the prohibition on stealing in Judaism or the prohibition against adultery in Islam.

By adminssk
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