What Is Law?

Law is a set of rules that are created and enforced by social or governmental institutions to regulate behaviour and maintain order. It is often viewed as both a science and an art. The precise definition of Law is subject to debate and has been influenced by a variety of philosophical approaches.

The most commonly accepted meaning of Law is a set of rules that are recognized as binding on a society and enforceable through the process of a court of justice. These rules may be in the form of legislation or a body of custom and policies that have been codified through legislative processes. In common law systems, the decisions of courts are based on the legal principle of stare decisis, which means that similar cases reach similar results and thus become binding precedents.

Another view of Law is a systematic way that predicts how an activity will unfold: for example, the laws of motion, the law of gravity, or the law of supply and demand. This view of Law is sometimes called scientific because it makes predictions about variables. The prediction is based on the concept of a system that consists of interrelated parts: the observer, the observed activity, and the consequences.

Despite the vast number of fields that can be categorized under Law, most legal experts agree that it is best understood as a collection of interrelated disciplines, rather than a single field. This is because each field deals with a particular type of situation or circumstance that may arise in the course of a legal proceeding.

The most prominent disciplines are criminal law, civil law, and constitutional law. Criminal law encompasses all laws and procedures that govern the investigation, prosecution, and trial of a criminal act. Civil law focuses on the rights of citizens and the relationship between those rights and the government. Constitutional law encompasses the laws and principles that govern the establishment, maintenance, and change of a nation.

Other areas of Law include administrative law, family law, labour law, property law, and evidence law. Administrative law is concerned with how agencies operate, including the administration of justice. Family law covers the legal rights of spouses, children, and parents. Labour law deals with the tripartite industrial relationship between worker, employer, and trade union. Property law includes the rights of ownership, mortgages and liens, and the division of marital property. Evidence law outlines which materials are admissible in a legal case.

There are many career opportunities in the area of Law. These include lawyer, judge, and prosecutor, as well as other careers that deal with advising people about the law, representing people in court, and giving legal decisions and punishments. Some of these careers are described in articles on the legal profession, legal education, and legal ethics. In addition, some articles cover specific aspects of Law, such as the law on air travel, bankruptcy, and carriage of goods. For more information on the political structures that govern Law, see constitutional state; ideology; and political system.