What Is Law?

Law is a set of practices and rules that are binding on society and enforced by a controlling authority. Its precise definition has been subject to many debates over the centuries.

Law can be a matter of public policy or private interest, depending on the type of legal system in place. In general, a country’s legal system defines its citizens’ rights and obligations, from contracts and property to criminal justice and health care. It also regulates the economic and social order of a nation.

While the precise definition of law may change over time, some scholars have agreed that it is a system of rules or policies enforceable by coercion and enacted through the state. This defining feature distinguishes law from other forms of regulation and order, such as custom or tradition.

The purpose of law is to bind people to certain obligations, to punish wrongdoing and to provide remedies for it. Its normative dimension includes a moral justification for its existence and a claim to be legitimate. A central issue for legal theory is how to articulate this claim and the conditions under which it exists.

An extensive and varied field, the study of law is both fascinating and relevant in the modern world. Whether it’s analyzing the impact of cybercrime on businesses, exploring international human rights policies or examining global environmental regulations, legal studies can inform and inspire on a worldwide scale.

Whether you’re an experienced lawyer or just starting out, these topics will help you craft compelling research papers on the legal aspects of various subjects. They’ll give you the background you need to develop your own unique perspectives.

The law in a given jurisdiction can be determined by legislative statutes and executive decrees, as well as by judicial decisions in common law jurisdictions that use the doctrine of stare decisis to bind future judges to similar decisions. Private individuals can also create legally binding contracts and arbitration agreements.

There are a number of different types of legal systems in the world, with civil law systems found on all continents and accounting for about 60% of the world’s population. These legal systems are based on the concepts, categories and rules established by Roman law and later influenced by canon law and local custom and culture.

Some skeptics argue that law is profoundly dependent on morality and therefore must be profoundly subjective. This skeptical approach, popular in post-modernist literature, typically assumes that morality is entirely subjective and thus always up for grabs.