What is Law?

Law is a system of rules created and enforced by social or governmental institutions in order to regulate human behavior. It aims to keep the community in order and fixed to a specific way of life that promotes peace or discourages violence. Laws are enforced by the armed forces, police or the courts. Law is a complex and dynamic phenomenon, with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate.

The word “law” is generally used to refer to the set of laws that govern a certain geographic area, for example a country or state. Laws are created in order to ensure a peaceful society and are designed to deal with crime, business, property, social relationships, etc. Laws are enforced through the use of mechanisms such as punishment and sanctions.

Generally, laws are created by a group legislature or individual legislators resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or established through legal precedent (case law), in common law jurisdictions. There are also private laws created through contracts and alternative dispute resolutions such as arbitration agreements.

There are different types of laws based on the culture and society in each country or region. The civil law tradition, which covers about 60% of the world, is based on concepts and categories derived from Roman and Germanic legal systems, sometimes supplemented by local custom. The religious traditions of Hindu and Islamic law differ from the civil law tradition in that they are based on the principles of scripture and canon law.

Historically, the rule of law has been a major goal of politics and a central element in the development of stable societies. It aims to protect against the Hobbesian war of all against all by providing citizens with the confidence that they can plan their lives knowing the consequences that their actions will have legally. The rule of law should also guarantee against at least some types of official arbitrariness.

There are many different fields in the law, including intellectual property, labour law and corporate and commercial law. Employment law covers the industrial relations between employee and employer, trade unions and collective bargaining; family law involves marriage and divorce proceedings and the rights of children, while immigration law focuses on the right to live and work in a nation-state that is not one’s own. The law also includes criminal procedure, civil procedure and evidence law which deals with the rules that judges must follow as they hear cases. In addition, there is biolaw which combines the study of the law with the biological sciences.