Law is the rules that a society or government develops to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships. It also refers to the people who work in this system.
In a nation, law can serve to keep the peace, maintain the status quo, preserve individual rights, protect minorities against majorities, promote social justice, and provide for orderly social change. In some nations, laws are enforced by governments and in others by private individuals.
Some legal systems are more effective at serving these functions than others. Those that are most successful include civil law, common law, and judicial systems.
The definition of law is a set of rules that regulate behavior in an area, often over a large territory, with enforcement through a controlling authority. It may involve a formal legal system, such as a country’s constitution, which sets out the basic principles of law.
It can also refer to a particular field of law, such as commercial contracts or criminal law.
A person who practices law is a lawyer, or an attorney. They are specialized professionals who gain distinct professional identity through specified legal procedures, such as passing a qualifying examination and being admitted to the bar of their country.
In modern countries, lawyers are regulated by governments or independent regulating bodies such as bar associations and law societies.
They are governed by statutes, regulations, or decrees that can be enforced by courts or other legal authorities.
Law can also be defined as the body of rules that a society or government develops and follows in order to deal with crime, business, social relationships, property, and finance.
Some of these rules are prescribed by a government and others are established through precedent.
The word law is derived from the Latin verb legis, meaning “to legislate” or “to impose.” It implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on all those subject to that authority.
A law can be a set of rules that are enforceable by a government or society over a given region, or it can be a collection of customs and practices that are recognized as binding in the community.
Some laws are enacted by a group legislature and others are imposed through executive decrees or regulations. Some laws are based on precedent and some are created through litigation by private parties.
There are many different theories of law that differ in the way they define what constitutes law, how it is interpreted, and how it should be enforced. Some of these theories are criticized for being unscientific and even irrational, while others are considered to be more realistic.
According to Roscoe Pound, the definition of law is “the story that is consciously told by society.”
The story that is consciously told by society includes both individually told tales and a codified community narrative of equal justice for all.
The codified narrative is a more accurate reflection of what is generally accepted as the reality in that society than an individually told tale. It is a reflection of the collective consciousness (Volkgeist) of that society.