Definition, Types and Categories of Law

Law is a system of rules that people in a society use to govern their behavior. It deals with a variety of different areas, such as crime and business agreements. It also covers social relationships and human rights.

The meaning of law is a matter of debate and varies among legal cultures. Some use it as a term to describe the laws of a state, while others view it more generally as a set of rules for good behavior, which can be considered an essential element in social life.

Definition of Law

The word law is defined as “rules, regulations and procedures governing the conduct of individuals or groups in the course of human activity”. It can refer to both state-enforced and private laws.

It is a social achievement that was first developed in ancient times to prevent and overcome conflicts between human beings (in which case it is called “social law”). This can be done through the adoption of a range of legal rules, both in terms of what people should do and why they should do it.

In some cases, such as the law of nations, law is an international body that regulates human activities in an attempt to achieve peace and stability in the world. It may also apply to local governments.

Types of Law

There are two major types of law: civil and criminal. These are usually regulated by national or regional institutions, such as a court or government agency. The former concerns the rights of individuals, while the latter is concerned with the laws that affect businesses and money.

Law can also be based on traditions, such as common law systems in which judges establish precedents of their decisions through legal cases. Some of these are preserved in a nation’s public records or in its written traditions, while other are codified into laws which are legally binding for all citizens and enforceable by courts.

Types of Law

Civil law systems, which are found on all continents, have evolved from Roman law and are largely based on concepts and categories that derive from that tradition. They are characterized by their emphasis on cooperation between human beings, a sense of justice and the rule of law.

They are based on a logical and dynamic taxonomy that is reflected in the structure of civil codes, which are the main statutory documents in most civil law countries.

Normatively, rights are often considered to reflect natural rights. This is a view that sees moral rights as self-evident, not dependent on recognition or enforcement or the social conventions that recognize them, and one which eschews considerations of utility or policy (Dworkin 1977: 190; Lyons 1982: 114).

As such, rights are able to qualitatively preempt competing reasons for action, which is why some of them may be more important than others. This is the reason that a legal right to protection from starvation, for instance, can be more important than a claim to be protected from discrimination based on gender, even if the infringement of the latter is more substantial.